The Indiana Health Insurance Exchange offers affordable medical rates and coverage. You can purchase a policy through our website or the .gov Marketplace. Because of the complexity of changes and the confusion of determining tax credit amounts, we will guide you through the process of buying a policy and help you understand which plans will be best for you or your family.
You may qualify for a subsidy that could potentially pay your entire premium. Open Enrollment begins November 15th and lasts for three months. During this time, you can choose and compare policies that will be effective for 2015. Whether you are buying coverage for the first time or replacing an existing policy, you'll be eligible for financial subsidies and won't be declined for medical reasons.
We highly recommend that we take the time to review options beginning in September so there is ample time to determine your best options. With more than three decades of experience, we research the best plans offered by the most highly-rated carriers (more information is provided below).
You can obtain your medical coverage at "direct" prices through us. There are no added cost or unexplained charges that are added to the premium. There are no associations to join or memberships that have to be renewed. We simply spend 100% of our time and effort to bring you the lowest health insurance Marketplace rates in Indiana. Currently, about 14% of the population in the state does not have medical coverage. Many of these persons are able to purchase policies with the help of the Obamacare subsidy.
Many states have chosen to allow the federal government to run their operations instead of having a state-run program. The Indiana Exchange is operated (at least initially) by the Department of Health And Human Services (DHHS). We believe that was the correct decision since Hoosier residents will save about $50 million in expenses. Although it may not have a "local" feel, the decision can be reversed in future years, which will be considered.
You'll find our free guidance and expertise will make the process much easier than attempting to go directly to the government website. Fortunately, we will simplify the buying process and handle most of the paperwork for you. Of course, for your protection, we do not keep copies of any portion of the application. However, you can access that data.
What Are Some Of The Cheapest Plans?
Although prices can quickly change, the names of a few of the most affordable plan options are:
Anthem Catastrophic Direct Access
Anthem Bronze Direct Access
PHP Marquee 1000
Ambetter Bronze 3
Because a plan costs less than other options, it may have a higher deductible. Often, if you qualify for the subsidy, you will be able to afford to enroll in a more expensive plan, that will be heavily subsidized, so your cost is low. But just as importantly, you may be able to effectively reduce your deductible by as much as $2,000-$5,000.
No medical questions. Yes, that's correct. The standard application contains no questions regarding your health. Whether you're an Olympic runner or you're currently being treated for cancer, it doesn't matter. If you are not offered coverage at your place of work, you are able to apply and purchase coverage through the Exchange (and more easily, through this website). Pre-existing conditions are covered without any surcharges or waiting periods. Despite increased website traffic, we have had no glitches or delays.
The Affordable Care Act spends hundreds of millions of dollars to set up these programs (yes, you're partially paying for it). Each state could have elected to run it themselves, which would burden the taxpayers of that state. Indiana chose to allow the federal government to set up the program, which, as previously mentioned, spares taxpayers millions of dollars in expenses. However, regulation of the plans will still be handled locally, which is a positive.
The Federal Subsidy
Perhaps the biggest benefit (and gift) to Hoosier residents is the new Obamacare federal subsidy. Based on your individual or family income, Indiana health Exchange rates drop by as much as 100% under the right circumstances. It's not taxable and it is automatically applied by the insurers to your billed premium. Thus, if your monthly rate is $100 and your credit is $1,200 per year, your benefits are free! And there are many policy options that allow you to pay no or very low premiums.
Larger families receive the most federal aid. The difference between one or three children in your household changes the subsidy by as much as $1,500-$3,000 per year. Your reimbursement could easily be more than $5,000, depending on the size of your family, age, and income. We'll be happy to review how your subsidy is calculated and which plans will allow you to use your federal credit in the best way.
Households that don't qualify for federal aid, can also apply for coverage that is not listed on the Exchange. These options may have broader network provider lists, and in some situations, could cost thousands of dollars less than the typical Gold or Silver policy. However, a high-deductible catastrophic policy may be the most cost-effective option. Anyone can enroll in a Bronze contract. "Catastrophic" contracts require the applicant to be under age 30 or show proof of financial hardship.
The Not So Good
The purpose of setting up a Health Insurance Exchange in Indiana and other states, was to save individuals, families and small business owners money by offering affordable medical coverage. Yet, most independent studies have shown this is not happening in all areas yet. Prices have increased between 10% and 40% in many parts of the state, depending on which study or research report you choose to believe. 2015 is no exception, with rates rising for most consumers.
The main reason is that so many unhealthy applicants will purchase coverage cheaply, while many healthy persons choose to go without coverage and pay the small tax. However, there are still affordable choices and we can help you find them. Although some counties have more choices than others, the number of participating companies is slowly increasing each year.
There also are limited choices for consumers in specific counties. In previous years, there were hundreds of different policy plan designs that could be custom fit (by an experienced broker) to suit individual, family or small business needs. However, the Exchange has eliminated hundreds of plans and simply offers four levels of coverage- Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. And yes, you may be forced to pay for benefits you don't need.
Companies To Choose From
Another variable is the number of available companies in specific areas. Certain areas will have limited availability of carriers while other ares will be more robust. For example, Northeast Indiana features four options: Anthem, MDWise, Physicians Health Plan and PHP. Thus, prices may be very attractive in this part of the state. In most other areas, Anthem will be selling policies.
For 2015, an additional company, CareSource, has entered the market. Premiums are expected to be fairly low, compared to other companies. However, the network of participating physicians and other specialists may not include your existing providers.MDWise is looking to expand their customer base. Unfortunately, they may be requesting a large increase for 2015 policies.
Benefits Not Needed
For example, you may not need contraception or maternity benefits. In fact more than half of consumers currently elect not to pay for those coverages. But you will have to include these on your plans in 2014. Mental health coverage may not be high on your list. But you will not be able to remove it from your policy.
But perhaps the most troubling aspect is that the cost of maintaining benefits on a combination of consumers that don't want to pay for it, or have extensive chronic medical issues that will sap the system of money it doesn't have. Although it has been widely reported by some, that long-term costs will reduce, the consensus is that they will not. Unfortunately, it appears that Indiana health insurance prices will be increasing over the next decade, not decreasing.
If these increases are quite small, increases in household income can offset them. And if more healthier applicants purchase coverage, prices could actually reduce.
And that's precisely the reason we will work harder to find which companies can offer you the most substantial benefits at the lowest cost. If there are any available tax benefits that will lower your rates, we will show you how to qualify for these reductions.
For family incomes under $95,000, tax credits will be available that will reduce the cost of the medical coverage. Naturally, the lower the income, the higher the tax relief will be. Under the new laws, Indiana residents will be entitled to a health reform subsidy. Here are some examples below:
45 year-old male making $50,000 per year. Amount of annual subsidy: $0.
45 year old male making $30,000 per year. Amount of annual subsidy: $3,100 which will pay 55% of the projected premium.
40 year old male and female (married) with two children making $60,000 per year. Amount of annual subsidy: $7,193 which pays 59% of the projected premium.
50 year old male and female (married) with two children making $100,000 per year. Amount of annual subsidy: $0.
What Are Navigators?
Navigators are special "helpers" that are funded by the government to aid in enrollment and contact persons that may not be aware of the Open Enrollment periods. However, they are limited in authority and the small amount of training they will receive, is being delayed in many areas. They should be very helpful to consumers that do not own a computer.
We will keep you updated through the Open Enrollment period of the Exchange. Although many details still must be worked out, you can depend on our website to bring you the lowest available prices at all times. The deadline for an effective date the first of the year is December 14th. For this 2013 only, Open Enrollment extends to the end of March.
UPDATE 9-26-2013: The Department of Health and Human Services released preliminary rates for Indiana Exchange plans. For example, a family of four (two adults and two children) with household income of $50,000 will pay approximately $280-$290 per month in premiums. However, if the household income is more than $94,000, the rate will increase to approximately $950-1,000. A young person (26-28 years old) with income of about $24,000 would pay approximately $140 per month.
UPDATE 11-2-2013: The ICHIA, which is the state high-risk pool provider, will continue for an extra 30 days to the end of January. Originally, the program was scheduled to end at the end of 2013 since Open Enrollment plans would begin in 2014. However, because of delays to the federal website, it was decided an extension was needed.UPDATE
UPDATE 11-21-2013: Indiana insurers are not being asked to reinstate older plans. Although President Obama indicated that each state would determine the fate of canceled plans, as DOI Commissioner Stephen Robertson pointed out, the logistics, time, and money spent to reverse decisions that were originally requsted by Obamacare legislation, would be nearly impossible. Many companies, including Anthem, have invested years attempting to comply with mandated requirements.
UPDATE 2-16-2014: Enrollment for April 1 effective dates has begun. Most applicants (about four out of five) are able to qualify for the federal subsidy and lower premiums. Also, about 80% of applicants have paid their initial premium so far and more than 3 million persons (nationwide) have enrolled. Wellpoint (parent company of Anthem BCBS) said that three out of four of its customers had paid the first premium.
UPDATE 6-21-2014: Guess who's coming to town as a new player? CareSource, who offered coverage in Ohio in 2014, will offer plans in the Hoosier state in 2015 (also Kentucky). Mostly known for its Medicaid products in Ohio, their rates were very good and they enrolled almost 40,000 persons in 2014. CareSource has offered coverage for about 25 years and is well known in the Buckeye state.
UPDATE 7-8-2014: UnitedHealthcare will be offering 2015 Marketplace coverage under their "All Savers" brand. Assurant and Coordinated Care are also expected to sell policies. Of all the new companies, UnitedHealthcare has the best chance to gather market share since they are the largest carrier in the US and their rates should be very attractive.
UPDATE 7-18-2014: Anthem expects prices for their "Gold" plans to slightly reduce, while "Bronze" premiums may be increasing as much as 12%-17%. The Southern portion of the state, however, may see across-the-board reductions for most or all plans. Local medical costs along with the number of submitted claims have been lower than anticipated in that area.