Open market health insurance enrollment is upon us. Here are 3 tips for choosing your cover

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This month, many employees are in the process of choosing health insurance coverage for 2023 through their employer. But what if you are not entitled to health insurance through employment?

Maybe you’ve become self-employed recently, which means you don’t have access to company benefits. Or maybe you are retired but not yet eligible for Medicare.

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Going without health insurance can be a very dangerous thing. If you don’t have health insurance, you may have to dip into your savings to cover expenses such as unexpected hospital bills. It is therefore important to set up a cover. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can purchase health insurance in the federal market at from November 1 through January 15.

If this is your first time buying your own health insurance, you may find the process somewhat overwhelming. Here are some tips to narrow down your choices.

1. Know your plan levels

The health insurance plans in the market are classified into different categories or levels. The highest tier is Platinum, which means you’ll generally be looking at more comprehensive coverage and lower out-of-pocket costs for things like copayments and deductibles. But you will also generally face higher premium costs. If you don’t want to embark on a Platinum plan, you can downgrade one level to Gold, two levels to Silver, and three levels to Bronze.

2. Consider an HSA-compliant plan

Health insurance plans with a higher deductible may be compatible with a Health Savings Account (HSA). And these plans are definitely worth looking into.

HSAs allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars to healthcare expenses. They’re super flexible in that they don’t expire, so you can withdraw anytime you want and invest funds you don’t need to spend right away. HSA withdrawals are also tax-free when used for eligible health care expenses — things like copayments and deductibles.

Health insurance plans with an individual deductible of $1,500 or more, or a family deductible of $3,000 or more, are eligible for HSA in 2023 provided their maximum out-of-pocket limits do not exceed $7,500 for individuals or $15,000 for families. When you review your plan choices, you will usually be able to immediately see whether or not a given plan is HSA eligible.

Of course, you may not like the idea of ​​a higher health insurance deductible. But generally, the higher your deductible, the lower your premiums, so what you pay in one regard, you’ll save in another. And remember, an HSA can reduce your tax burden, so there are those savings to consider when making your decision as well.

3. Review your out-of-network coverage choices

It is not always possible to find a doctor or specialist you like in your health insurance network. This is why it is important to see what costs you are considering if you are forced to go out of the network. You’ll usually owe higher copays, and some health insurance plans won’t offer any coverage if you see a provider that’s out of network.

Buying health insurance is an important thing. Follow these tips to make the right decision and ensure you have the coverage you need.

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