I will focus on individual health insurance in this blog. If you currently have an individual major medical policy it is either Grandfathered or Non-Grandfathered. If you purchased your policy OR made changes to your policy (like increasing your deductible) AFTER September 1, 2010, your policy is Non-Grandfathered.
Polices issued and not changed prior to September 1, 2010, are Grandfathered. If your policy is Grandfathered – Don't change your plan! At this point in time, you do not want to lose your Grandfathered status. You will be able to keep your current health plan indefinitely under current Obamacare rules. Why is this important? Current BCBS premiums, for Marketplace plans (Obamacare Approved Benefit Plans), are DOUBLE what you are currently paying for similar coverage.
If your policy is Non-Grandfathered, and you are currently with BCBS, your policy will be reissued with a December 1, 2013, effective date to give you twelve more months under the same benefit plan. On January 1, 2015, you will lose your current plan and be forced to purchase an Obamacare approved plan which could cost double what you are paying now.
My hope is the dust will settle and prices will stabilize during the next year, but as of today the 2014 Obamacare Plans cost double what 95% of my clients are currently paying. I also hope Congress will pass legislation allowing insured's, with Non-Grandfathered policies, to keep their current plans. I encourage you to contact your Congressman to request they fight to allow everyone to keep their current health plans if they like their current premium and benefits.
All Texans can change plans or companies, annually, during the open enrollment period regardless of preexisting health conditions. Some applicants may be eligible for premium subsidies.
You can visit www.bcbstx.com to quote Obamacare Plans and to determine if you are eligible for a premium subsidy. The process takes approximately one hour.
Its unfortunate the cost of the new Obamacare plans are double what most are currently paying. The positive is that these plans now offer Maternity coverage, which has not been available on an individual basis for decades. The ability to purchase coverage with preexisting conditions is also valuable if you can afford the premiums.
Finally, every individual policyholder will get a premium increase on January 1, 2014. This increase will be a premium surcharge required by passage of the Affordable Care Act.