Has your health insurance plan been cancelled yet? Like many entrepreneurs, in November of 2013 I received a series of letters from my health insurance company indicating my plan would soon “no longer exist”. I was being “transitioned” into a plan that met the new Affordable Care Act’s requirements.
Whether you like this legislation or not, it is impacting small businesses, entrepreneurs, and consultants nationwide. To date, I haven’t seen many articles that offer practical steps for dealing with these changes.
Getting back to my situation, I was essentially presented with three options:
- Do nothing, which would cause my plan to automatically transition into a new (“Affordable Care Act-friendly”) plan in 2014. The new plan would meet the criteria of the healthcare legislation – and increase my monthly premium by nearly 30%.
- Extend the renewal date of my existing plan, thus delaying the inevitability of option 1 by another twelve months. This option still presented an increased premium.
- Shop around and see what else is out there – before 2013 draws to a close.
In summary, I chose a combination of Option 2 and 3, which will save me 34% versus what I was paying (for the time being). I’ve told this story to many of my clients, and they’ve asked me to document it in a comprehensive blog article. In this article, I’ll offer some tips on how to navigate the uncertain insurance market and hopefully help you identify some ways to save money.
How Will this Affect My Business?
Through a business contact, I was introduced to Jerry Pichman, Senior Health Benefits Specialist at the Health Reform Team and an expert on the legislation’s impact on entrepreneurs.
I’m certainly no expert on health insurance, which is why I’m offering you the transcript of an interview I recently did with Jerry. Feel free to contact him by submitting this form. I’m confident he can help you save money for your small business health insurance needs.
Matt: What are you hearing from small business owners about the current health insurance market?
Jerry: Many small business owners have expressed that they feel ill-informed about health insurance premiums, coverage, and what they will be eligible for, if anything. Rising costs and cancelations are starting to hit many businesses. Needless to say, I’m pretty busy helping people navigate this uncertain health insurance market.
Matt: Can individuals still renew their current plans? If so, are there limitations?
Jerry: It depends on your renewal date. Some folks have health plans that will not renew, and they will have to consider a Qualified Health Plan. This means that their current plans will no longer be available, and they will have to purchase a much more expensive plan that meets the healthcare law’s stipulations. Some insurers have given their customers “early renewal” opportunities, which allow you to extend your current plan for another year. However, time is running out.
Matt: So what do you suggest entrepreneurs, specifically those who manage virtual teams, do to reduce their risk and minimize premium costs?
Jerry: If you want to pursue a new health insurance policy for yourself or team members, it’s important you do so asap. Otherwise, you’ll likely be shifted into a plan that is more expensive and meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. Depending on your needs, it may be possible for you to switch to a cheaper plan.
Matt: Going forward, what options will small business owners have for themselves and their team members?
Jerry: Honestly, there’s so much uncertainty, it’s difficult to say. Hopefully insurance companies will come up with some more affordable plan options for the entrepreneur and small business owner. There may be some small business owners who could actually benefit from the new legislation, so I’ll be glad to help them as well. Only time will tell, but I’ll be sure to keep my clients and your readers informed.
How to Explore Additional Health Insurance Options
To chat with Jerry and his team about your health insurance options, click here and fill out the form. He will follow up within 24 hours of receiving your request. Please note that although we are bringing Jerry to you as a free resource, we are in no way endorsing his services nor pretending to be insurance experts. Please review your health insurance options carefully before making your final decision.
Whether you’re a freelancer, an oDesk client, or simply a small business owner, I hope this information is useful and helps you make an informed decision.