November is here and it’s time for health care open enrollment. I just received my own benefit papers and information about my plan, along with my new premium. I’ll see a very modest increase in my monthly premium, thanks to the fact that I enrolled during a special period because of my recent divorce and cross-country move.
I know many people who are concerned about their rising health care costs. My premium isn’t awful yet because I have a high-deductible plan and use it in conjunction with a Health Savings Account. My son will remain on my ex’s health insurance for the time being, so it’s not been an issue for me.
My reliance on a high-deductible plan might be one of the reasons that the new law about health insurance hasn’t been a source of stress for me since its introduction in 2010.
Millennials More Likely to Support the Affordable Care Act
With all the controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it’s not surprising that Americans are almost evenly split on supporting the ACA or wanting it repealed. Millennials, though, are more likely to support the ACA, and say that their health care situation has improved in the last year.
Part of this is likely due to the fact that many millennials do opt for the high-deductible plans, and choose to get only catastrophic coverage, which are less expensive in terms of monthly premiums. Younger millennials might still be on their parents’ plans (the ACA allows it until age 26) or might not have children to worry about insuring.
As someone with few health needs, my plan works well and the ACA hasn’t impacted the way I get insurance. I see a health care provider once a year for a well visit, and maybe one other time if I get sick enough. I have one monthly prescription that isn’t too expensive.
Others, though, might have difficulty during this health care open enrollment season. They may have more health care needs than I have, or need to get coverage for a larger family. For many families, a high-deductible plan isn’t feasible because of how expensive the out-of-pocket costs are. Those with chronic conditions have to consider their regular medications — some of which can be quite expensive.
As you consider your health insurance options this open enrollment season, make sure you think about what makes sense for your family. Don’t assume you have to stick with the same plan if it’s not working for you, and consult with a professional about what make sense for you in terms of adjusting your coverage or deductible to make things work. Don’t forget to explore the possibility of a Health Savings Account if you are eligible.
There is no way to completely stop health care costs from rising; they’ve been increasing for decades even before the ACA, and chances are they’ll keep rising as long as our system remains mostly the same.
David’s Note: And while we are on the subject of Affordable Care Act, I want to remind everybody to make sure you are getting all the tax credits you are eligible for. Some of you may think this is obvious, but apparently millions (yes, millions) of us didn’t claim their tax credits last year. Remember to claim your credits this time around, or file a 1040X amendment to grab your money back!