Here's what you should expect from the health insurance marketplace going into 2019:
Open Enrollment Remains Largely The Same
Open enrollment begins on Thursday, November 1, 2018, and runs through to Saturday, December 15, 2018. Plans kick in on January 1, 2019. No major changes have been made to the open enrollment period so all of your prior knowledge is still relevant here.
The Tax Penalty Is Gone
The federal income tax penalty for uninsured individuals is now gone. However, some states have opted to introduce a similar penalty at the statewide level. Those include Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Vermont; and New Jersey. Other states are likely to follow suit. This would be a good time to talk to your employees about the benefits of having health insurance — even for the young and healthy.
Premiums Are Likely To Rise
Getting rid of the individual mandate will likely contribute to the rise in some premiums. Currently, most organizations are forecasting a modest rise of no more than a few percent but it is very plan and state specific. Federal subsidies do play a role in plan pricing. Whether those are still here in 2020 remains to be seen, but if the subsidies go then you can expect a significant change to the market as a whole; carriers, plans, availability, and pricing.
You Will Probably Have More Options
In previous years insurers were required to offer health insurance plans that met 10 essential needs. In 2019 this list has been expanded to 50 and individual states will be able to pick and choose from this list. That means there will be a larger number of options to choose from but the coverage will vary between these plans. You should let employees know that their current plan may have been impacted by this — in some cases, their plan may end up being different in 2019 even if it has the same plan name as the previous year.
No one can claim to have all the answers right now. Who knows where the program will be in 2020 and beyond. But — as is often the case with the rapidly changing world of health insurance — your first priority is figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other for the next year. That's why a partner with some expertise in the healthcare industry is so important for businesses. Especially those without all of the in-house resources that larger corporations can leverage.
At Summerlin-Roberts we leverage our expertise in cost containment to provide the best possible benefits at the lowest possible price. This results in more sustainable health plans and cleaner budgets for our clients. For more information on seeing what's behind the curtain and reducing healthcare spend that affects your bottom line, please contact us today.