Hi all. This question is really not about AARP proving plans for those of us under the age of 65 and able to retire early but, rather, how does one find out what is REALLY available in their area when it comes to private health insurance coverage? Everything I find online requires that you provide your email and phone number, tells you nothing and then you get bombarded with calls from people that are so eager to sell, they don't pay attention to your issues. It seems like there is little in the way of private coverage in the State of Alabama (beyond BCBS) but I would really like to know if that is the truth. Are there places one can call or go online and just find out the options without having to deal with the plethera of calls? I just want guidance on where to start...I don't want offers at this point! Thanks!
Most states have good, well-qualified, agents who cost you nothing (directly) but of course get commission from the insurance carrier. Ours was our group plan agent when I was in business and had employees. When you have a company, agents come to you. Fortunately we liked her and asked if she'd keep us through our initial year in Medicare. That was 20 years ago and her agency still researches everything available, using large spreadsheets from which we are easily able to see the benefits (or lack thereof) each offers. She does the same thing on the drug plans which change every single year. I can't imagine shopping for the basic plans or the drug plans without her analysis. And we're not left to pick our choices off those spreadsheets -- in case we're going into senility she explains why she thinks we'd prefer this plan or that plan. Find a recommendation for an agency from some business friend you trust and then have them help shop the market for your specific needs.
@PeggyK683831 there are no reliable options any more. Agents have left the market. Exception is agents that sell STM (short term medical) and indemnity plans. Both products have MAJOR holes that will leave you in financial straits if you have a significant claim.
The few agents that are selling Obamacare plans will try to sell add-on cancer, accident, hospital indemnity, etc plans to make up for the $$$ they lose by writing Obamacare coverage.
healthcare.gov is an option but don't expect knowledgeable advice.
Your only REAL option is Healthcare.gov unless you want to go direct to BC AL.
You will be hard pressed to find an insurance broker still invested in the Obamacare market. Most carriers stopped paying commissions on traditional under 65 health insurance in 2014. The brokers still in that market are generally offering non-compliant coverage including STM plans. Some may direct you to a health care sharing ministry. And some will want to load you up with a combination of ancillary products (accident, cancer, etc) which have little if any value . . . but at least it is a way for them to get paid.
The market place in all states was completely disrupted by the Obamacare law. Almost all carriers involved in that market prior to 2014 are no longer active. Several states had 20+ carriers writing plans. Now they are down to 3 or less and in many areas only 1.
Premiums are 3x what they were before 2014 and most deductibles are $6000 or higher. Some still offer copay's but in some cases the copay only applies AFTER you have satisfied your deductible.
Thanks for this...perhaps that is why I can't find anything other than BCBS of AL. It is extremely disheartening that, at this happy time in my life (when retiring early) that I can't find affordable health coverage. I had heard complaints from others but never really "got it" until now.
Your observation is not unique. Until you leave the womb of employer group health insurance and try to find AFFORDABLE health insurance, you don't understand what all the anti-Obamacare noise is about.
Alabama is part of the Federally Facilitated Marketplace so IF you might get a tax credit subsidy for some of your premiums based on your income and family make up then you can review plans available on HEALTHCARE.GOV
See the drop down box for Consumers - there are several Health Care insurance related topics.
However, you can GO SEE a local health insurance broker, preferably one that writes for several companies or as many as are in AL, and see what they might offer OFFor outside the marketplace plans. There is no charge to you for this service. If you don't know one - check with the broker that writes you other insurance - house, auto, liability - they may can give you a recommendation.
New for this year are also short term, more limited policies which might meet your needs if you don't have long to go before you are on Medicare - the broker could also help with these. Make sure you understand the coverage.
A broker could also help you with a catastrophic policy if one is available to you - believe that would have to be OFF the exchange.
I retired (at 66) the middle of 2018 and I am covered under Medicare. My wife is 55 and we must cover her with private insurance...she is not covered under an employer's plan.
My understanding is that the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), sometimes called "Obamacare" is still the law of the land. There have been some changes over the past couple years but I see that 2018 Federal tax forms still require proof of health insurance coverage.
I suggest a quick study on this. You can still get on an ACA plan through mid-February if there is some "qualifying event". Otherwise you may be restricted to short-term plans with limited coverage.
You can go to the Federal agency's website, www.healthcare.gov. It is a bit overwhelming on first (and sixth) viewing. I was very confused. But it does work well and it is quite useful.
A word about ACA and insurance. A few words. You may very possibly be eligible for tax credits depending on your income and situation (family size, etc). A very rough number that I am just making up at the moment but is based in reality (and can be studied at the web site or Google) is that, say, you are single, you might get a tax credit (used to help pay your ACA insurance premium) up to a maximum income of around $48,000. The amount of tax credit is smallest at this high end of income, the tax credit will increase as your income decreases...down to income around $20,000...below which you will not get a tax credit but are eligible for Medicaid (an entirely different program).
The "tax credit" is an amount that comes directly off the income taxes you owe.
Checking the government website I see limited insurance companies in Alabama...I lived in Birmingham for 10 years so I used that area as a proxy for running various cases. You have to enter your own zip code to proceed.
[I really recommend that you do this look-see first before going through all the formalities]
After a few screens it will show you what tax credit you might expect (based on income and household) and then the insurance plans. There are several "levels" of plans... bronze, silver, gold and I think there's platinum or plutonium or something. These are general guides to or levels of coverage...cost sharing (between the insurance company and the insured...pay higher premiums you get more coverage, pay little you won't get much). Use the selections and sorting to find a good plan for you.
Another good site was www.healthsherpa.com. A bit simpler (so I thought) than the government site so you might find it easier.
Good luck ... c'mon back should you have questions. someone will help you out
Check with your state(Alabama) health care services. You might consider catastophic health care insurance. You have to pay minor health care cost but protects you from major health care cost but would be cheaper than 100% coverage. You might still be elgible for Obamacare coverage but would be expensive with less choice of insurance cos. and Doctor chioice