HEALTH INSURANCE FACTS
Health Insurance for Louisiana Residents in 2017
Louisiana uses the federally-facilitated exchange and residents enroll in exchange plans using Healthcare.gov. The 4 primary carriers offering plans in the Louisiana exchange for 2017 are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, HMO Louisiana, Humana, and Vantage Health Plan. However, Humana will exit the individual market nationwide at the end of 2017.
As of the 2017 Open Enrollment period, 143,577 people enrolled in private plans through the Louisiana exchange. This was significantly lower amount of enrollees compared to that of the 2016 Open Enrollment period due to Louisiana expanding Medicaid during mid-2016. Those with household income between 100% - 138% of the poverty level were eligible to receive premium and cost-sharing subsidies in the exchange. However, they became eligible for Medicaid instead in July 2016, not needing to enroll in private plans during the 2017 Open Enrollment period.
Health Insurance Rates in 2017
The average benchmark premium increased 17% in Louisiana in 2017. Subsidy amounts are based on the cost of the benchmark relative to income. Therefore, 2017 subsidies are larger than 2016. Average rate increases among the 4 carriers in the Louisiana exchange are between 30% - 41%.
Health Insurance Penalties in 2017
One of the least popular features of health insurance is the individual mandate; states that you must have health insurance or pay a penalty. This was initially put in place to be implemented over a 3-year span, in order to be less of a financial burden in the beginning when people were learning about the new regulations.
TIPS FOR FINDING THE BEST HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS
Purchasing the Right Insurance
Know that you’re not alone if this is your first time shopping for a health insurance plan. In fact, many others are new buyers with the same questions about health insurance plans as well. In order to assist you with choosing the best options for an insurance plan that best suits you, consider a few tips.
Browsing and Comparing Prices
When shopping for a health insurance plans, most buyers base their decision on price alone. Even though affordability is an important factor, choosing a plan that optimally covers your actual needs should take precedence. Ask yourself “How many times do I plan to see the doctor this year?” or "Does this plan cover the cost of my medication(s)?” You should be sure to fully understand the options available, considering as many questions as possible when speaking to a licensed health insurance agent.
Understanding Network Options
Would you buy a home or vehicle without comparing all available options? Purchasing the right health insurance is no different. It’s recommended at least 2-3 other plans should be compared before choosing a healthcare plan; it’s crucial to consider the amount of coverage needed and your monthly budget.
Researching Available Options
“What insurance will my Doctor accept?” Different policies have different network options. Before selecting a network, ask yourself “Do I want the option of selecting or keeping my own doctor?” If the answer is yes, then you want a PPO Health Insurance plan. If the answer is no, ensure that your network is broad, offering a wide range of provider options.