5 Obamacare Surprises Coming in 2015

The end of the year is typically marked by trying to close business deals and get holiday preparations complete.  The last thing we want is a few suprises to interupt our plans or cause us to get distracted.  November 15th will bring the beginning of this year's Open Enrollment and all of Texas Health Design's existing clients will receive new quotes that provide a snapshot of all the plans and companies available for the coming year.  As we've begun our preparations to serve our clients we wanted to bring your attention to a few suprises that are in store for health insurance shoppers for the coming 2015 plan year.

5)  Need Prices?  You'll Just Have to Wait!

That’s right, we don’t have any idea what next year’s pricing will be for policies.  Consider that in the past before the Affordable Care Act we often saw prices on individual policies typically increase about 6% to 9% a year.  We can only assume that the same rate of change will happen for policies in 2015.  We have been told that the “cost curve” has been bent and the rate of growth slowed in other states, so we can hope that Texans holding individual policies in our state will get a nice surprise in a week or two on November 15th.  Yes, you read this correctly, we won’t know anything about next year’s pricing until November 15th.  We’ll do an in depth analysis on pricing changes in the near future.

4)  No Plan is Safe

Some old, “Grandfathered” plans could be subject to benefit changes that may be damaging.  If you had an old Health Savings Account with a low deductible which was under $1,300 per year, it will be modified to increase the deductible to $1,300.  A similar plan change applies to family H.S.A plans that had family deductibles less than $2,600.  In 2015, those family deductibles will increase to $2,600. 

3)  MD Anderson Dropped From Networks!

Cigna just dropped MD Anderson from its network.  We have noticed a few weird changes in the middle of the year to Cigna’s physician network, but in our opinion, the big bombshell will hit in 2015.  Cigna’s individual network will now exclude MD Anderson starting in January.  While most people won’t even notice this, we do have some clients that are undergoing therapy or use MD Anderson for ongoing checkups.  These individuals will need to find a new provider in 2015 if they desire to continue to visit MD Anderson as an in-network provider.

2) Automatic Plan Selection 

What if you don’t have time to examine your plan choices for 2015 and you already have a current ACA plan?  If you don’t have a trusted advisor you can spend a few minutes with, you’ll automatically roll over your coverage for 2015.  As we’ve discussed in our post “Top 10 Things to Remember About Obamacare in 2015” we stated that prices for most plans will increase in January even if you signed up for initial coverage in November, 2014!  Plans will not honor a 12 month price freeze like we saw many years ago on an individual policy basis, so brace yourself, if you “auto-renew” you’ll probably still be paying more in the new year.  Why is auto-selection or just rolling over your plan a potentially bad idea?  We know that new companies will be selling plans in Texas and chances are that they may offer cheaper options.  If you don't work with us to research your options, you probably pay more than you need to.  You might as well examine the entire universe of plan and insurance carrier options, CLICK HERE to contact us or run your own health quote. 

1)  Greater Plan and Insurance Company Choice in 2015

2014 was by all accounts a technological disaster.  Websites didn’t work, call times to insurance companies were often 5 hours or more, and agents we’re literally cut out of the insurance process (on purpose perhaps) for the first month of last year’s open enrollment.  Even big insurance companies like Aetna and United Health were not immune to big problems.  Both carriers were late to enter the Texas market and faced delays selling ACA plans to individuals to Texas.  Even today, you cannot get a United Health policy quoted on their own website and brokers need to request quotes that are manually generated.  2015 should be better and while I don’t anticipate either Aetna or UHC making significant inroads in the individual market, we will examine their plans and pricing.  In 2014, UHC and Aetna both offered plans that had high out of pocket costs and they were priced too high when compared against Humana, Blue Cross, and Cigna.  Hopefully they will adjust their pricing and improve their plan designs so that we can continue to provide clarity to our clients as we offer them the choice of the available plans in Texas.

Great Guidance and Super Service

If your broker didn’t show you enough plans or didn’t provide expert guidance, don’t continue to rely on poor advice.  At Texas Health Design we offer world-class service in addition to unmatched knowledge.  We will take time to hear how you use medical services, we’ll listen to your desired budget, and we’ll offer you a wide selection of the available plans in Texas.  Let us help you navigate the complex plans and find the right plan for your family.  Shopping online is easy, finding someone who understands the plans that make sense for your situation is not.  Let Texas Health Design serve you in the process.  Please click CONTACT US or get a QUOTE NOW to get started.  We are just a call away.  Call 713-422-2935 if you prefer to speak to our expert staff.

We're just 10 days away from the beginning of Open Enrollment, contact us today!


Jason Bohmann