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Open Enrollment going on now; know your options

Kendall Erickson from Sharp Insurance in Afton is reminding the public about open enrollment for health insurance going on now and reviews the public’s options.

He says for those under the age of 65 seeking options for regular health insurance the dates to be aware of are November 1st to January 15th, 2022.

“It usually goes until about December 15th,” Erickson said. “This year it’s January 15th.”

You can get onto healthcare.gov or get in contact with an agent like him to help determine what your best plan may be. You can determine if you qualify to tax credit subsidies to help pay for your insurance plan.

“It’s based on estimated income for next year,” Erickson said. “The other option is you can buy a plan off that exchange and pay full price and not do the subsidy thing that’s tied to your taxes.”

He says he has plenty of clients that do not qualify for the subsidies and do want to purchase a plan on the exchange. He says there are other options as well.

There’s a plan called Short Term Medical Insurance that can be more of a long-term solution. You can purchase this for up to three years at a time.

“It can be a good plan,” Erickson said. “That works well for a fraction of the cost of the full price for like, you know, BlueCross and Marketplace plans.”

He says there are two option for marketplace plans in BlueCross Wyoming and another called Mountain Health Co-Op. Another alternative is the Christian or sharing plans that you may hear in radio advertisements and such.

“They aren’t true health insurance,” Erickson said. “But they are a good option for some people.”

He says consumers really don’t have to worry about inflation either on some of these plans as they are federally subsidized. He says the tax credit subsidies have been expanded so much that sometimes people get a free or very cheap plan.

He says those seeking for Medicare, do not get confused about some of the popular TV ads about annual enrollment.

“Medicare Advantage is actually something that is not available in Lincoln County right now,” Erickson said. “There aren’t any companies offering that and that is a different type of Medicare plan that they push on TV.”

He says what is available here is Medicare Supplement or it is also known as Medigap. You can go to the government’s website to shop around any time of the year. The open enrollment dates people will want to be aware of is for the Part D Prescription Drug plans as part of a supplement to health coverage. That is from October 15th to December 7th.

He says you can reach out to an agent like him or go on to medicare.gov and run a quote for all Part D plans.

“It even lets you plug in your prescriptions,” Erickson said. “It runs the 22 different plans in Wyoming and says this plan is the cheapest for you.”

He also reminds everyone that Part A and B is Medicare itself and this is what you get from the government. Part A is hospital coverage and you don’t pay any premiums on it. Part B you do pay premiums for and is your outpatient care.

“It’s a good health plan, but it only covers about 80% of your medical bills,” Erickson said. “So, to cover that other 20% you’re buying a Medicare supplement plan through a private insurance company.”

He says there are options to pick the business you get that supplemental coverage from. It is all standardized plans so it has to cover you the same way. He says because of that you can choose the private company with the best rate.

He also says that anyone is free to reach out to him because it can get confusing with things constantly changing.

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