Sally’s phone was buzzing. It must be important. It was a text message at 7:30 on a Saturday morning. She checked her phone. It was another message from healthcare.gov. I asked her how often the marketplace was sending a 66 year old woman a text to purchase individual health insurance. Her answer was, “almost daily”. I was shocked. She was amused. With healthcare.gov you are forever young.
The pendulum has swung to the other extreme. The individual health insurance market survived four years of sabotage. Now we have an administration so eager to have everyone covered that Pete Buttigieg might personally drive you to my office. We have good, positive advertisements on radio and television. We had an extra Open Enrollment Period this spring and summer. The marketplace worked really well this year. And consumers who have purchased policies through healthcare.gov have received lots and lots and lots of reminders to visit the site to renew their plans.
But do you need to visit healthcare.gov to renew your policy? NO. The policies renew automatically. Check your subsidy. If you want to keep your current policy and you haven’t had any changes in your income, there really isn’t a reason to go into healthcare.gov. Confirming your status could be five minutes over the phone with your agent. If you want to explore your options or adjust your subsidy, yes, visit healthcare.gov either on your own or with your agent. The policies are the same price with or without an agent, so you might as well find someone you trust to guide you through the process. But if nothing is going to change, don’t let the daily texts, emails, and calls push you. If you are fine, you’re fine.
The system does not pick and choose who should reevaluate their plan and who can just let the policy renew. Healthcare.gov contacts everyone who has had a marketplace policy. Heck, it even nudges people who have turned 65 and are now on Medicare. Because healthcare.gov assumes that you don’t know about Open Enrollment and that you are forever young.
Picture – A Wild Ride – David L Cunix