I would like to first preface this by saying that I am just a disorganized gal in her late 20s who found herself with a creeping deadline of no health insurance. I am not a broker or professional, so all of the tips listed below are the ones that were sent along to me. And they were so helpful! So I figured it would be for you guys too!
My previous insurance was Blue Cross, so I ended up calling them and getting matched with a broker. They did not ask for my income, and I just had to answer a few questions about my general health (do I have any pre-existing diagnoses, am I pregnant, do I take any medications, do I smoke, etc etc etc). Luckily I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to my personal use of the healthcare system so I was provided with a low maintenance plan that will equate to ~150 per month. I spoke to someone else who said their BCBC plan was around ~$129 per month.
Here are some others that came recommended:
Stride health: This one actually won’t bombard you with callers / you don’t have to enter your phone number. I tried this to see if it compared to the caller quotes I got and it was actually a lot more expensive. They suggested ranges in the $220 range which is out of my price range. Others have said they paid cheaper, around $117.
Oscar – isn’t covered in my zip code, but came highly recommended by a few. I took a glance at the website and it looks cool with 24/7 on call care.
Massachusetts Health Connector: Obviously Massachusetts specific. This will give information on MassHealth as well as numerous other options if you don’t quality for MassHealth. You plug in your zip code and see what you qualify for.
Medicaid – I didn’t qualify for this as I still make money through sponsorships on my blog / IG. But great option!
healthcare.gov – This is a general site for open enrollment. Beware you will be BOMBARDED with callers. Like 20 calls in a span of a few hours kind of bombarded.
Health sharing systems: disclaimer – I don’t know much about what these are about. From some basic research, it appears you pay a monthly amount and it all gets pooled. And if another member (or yourself) needs health insurance, you use that money. You are responsible for covering an “annual personal responsibility” and the rest of your medical expenses are shared among the group from what they have contributed. More info on that here.
- Liberty health share: this is a health sharing system. You contribute pay a monthly share amount toward the needs of other members
- Knew Health: also a shared plan. They estimated my payment to be ~235 a month which was over what I originally wanted to pay.
I also received this bit of advice which I found SO helpful:
- Specific to Massachusetts: “My biggest suggestion from both a clinical and financial standpoint is decide how you feel about your providers. And prioritize what matters most to you from a provider standpoint. If a therapist is your priority, choose a plan that allows you to continue seeing them. This may mean more money up front but lower out of pocket maximum. For example, three months of paying full price, and then paying nothing. After four months I was actually saving money vs the other plans. Create an excel sheet that charts out what your expected costs would be on each plan and choose the one you would end up spending less on over the course of the year. Some of the Medicaid/Medicare combo plans are great and offer amazing perks for some of the most vulnerable people in the state. However, if they have a good relationship with a provider that isn’t covered under a combo plan (in MA all Partners affiliate doctors) then it’s not a clinically appropriate choice. In that case, we look for the most cost affective plan that will allow them to stay with their provider sand work n finding community resources to supplement.”
ALSO!! I mentioned above someone asking if I was pregnant, had pre-existing conditions, etc. Apparently this is illegal under the Affordable Care Act? Wow what a valuable learning lesson that I DIDN’T KNOW!! The only thing they are allowed to base your premium on is your age, smoking stays and geographic location. Reach out to your local poverty law center and ask them for resources to sign you up that project your consumer rights.