I Have a Pre-Affordable Care Act Plan, Why Change?

So you have health insurance coverage from the dark ages? Maybe it’s the same policy you purchased years ago. Year after year, your premium has gone up. But outside of shaking your head at the price, and figuring out what you’d have to give up in your household budget to keep it, there wasn’t much you could do. Perhaps you have been too scared to lose what you already have. Even though it is a $10,000 deductible, you figured at least it was something. As a farm kid, I call it “protection from losing the farm or the family business.”

Then the Affordable Care Act (ACA) came along and changing policies became an even scarier thought.

Let’s make this all a lot less scary.

Many Americans have insurance policies that are compliant with the ACA and they really like their plans. They get these policies from their employer, or they have purchased them from a health insurance carrier directly. You may keep your 25 year old on your family coverage without having him or her in school to do so. That happened because of the ACA. How about being able to get an annual wellness exam and not having to pay a co-pay, deductible or anything from your own pocket for wellness services? Those benefits come with ACA policies.

There are no riders with ACA plans. This means that health insurance carriers can’t say, “I won’t cover (insert condition here) because you had it before you joined my plan.” Do you have that protection under your current pre-ACA policy?

The news reports on costs going up nationally for ACA policies have also been scary. Yes, this is true. Costs are also going up for non-ACA policies; they have for years. The good news in South Dakota — and there is good news — is that the costs of individual ACA policies are going down.

Yes. Read that again.

Last week, several news organizations from the Wall Street Journal to The New York Times reported that South Dakota rates were going down. Wild! Take a look at the infographic from The New York Times here.

So, what are you waiting for? Go find a copy of your health insurance policy, dust it off, compare it to the costs and benefits of the policies being offered during this year’s open enrollment period and see if you can get a better value for your dollar. We have agents who can help you with the evaluation or, if you are like me, you can visit each insurance carrier’s website directly to evaluate benefits and premiums.

Our website is AveraHealthPlans.com. If you do shop, I would love to hear your story. You can share it with me at debra.muller@avera.org.

By Deb Muller

Chief Administrative Officer at Avera Health Plans