It isn’t fun, but it really is important this time of year to look closely at your health insurance options, especially if you are on an individual plan through the Obamacare exchanges. It’s also true within the menu of options available to you through an employer. Working around the edges, insurance companies change benefits, premium charges and out-of-pocket costs almost every year. They do this to maximize profits. That’s why they are in the business. So it is best to look closely at what you have now and what you can afford next year.
I like to make the analogy to signing up for residential natural gas service. Most of us only do that once even though the contracts we sign with marketers can adjust the per-therm rate, service fees and other costs once the contract expires and we fail to take note. Or think about your cable bill. How much has that monthly charge for your cable box/DVR set increased over the years? When did the “Premium Package” get so expensive?
It ain’t always easy, which is why many of us just sign up to renew our existing health insurance plans. And, by the way, when your friends start complaining about Obamacare being the cause of health insurance costs going up, ask them if they have shopped around for a potentially better plan at a better cost. They should. That’s how the health insurance system is designed to work in this country.
Here’s an excellent Washington Post piece on the subject.