Have you made your 2019 Health Insurance election?

Health insurance isn’t the most exciting purchase to make by far—but it is one of the most vital decisions you will make each year. Factors that play a large part in your decision are your finances, your family situation, health care needs and preferences, job status, and location. Understanding your options and choosing the best plan for your circumstances can be tricky and overwhelming. Luckily, through VelaPoint, you have exclusive access to a free health and supplemental insurance shopping service, staffed by licensed insurance experts in all 50 states. By guiding you with needs-analysis questions and plan information in your area, you are empowered to see your options clearly and make an educated decision for your 2019 coverage.

Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is the only time each year most individuals can purchase Affordable Care Act (ACA) 1 plans and determine their eligibility for tax credit subsidies or cost-sharing reductions, which are both designed to reduce premium costs for ACA plans.

The federal Open Enrollment deadline for enrolling in an ACA plan for 2019 is December 15th, 2018. Coverage selected by this deadline will go into effect on January 1st, 2019.

The following states have extended their enrollment deadlines past December 15th:

  • California – January 15th
  • Colorado – January 15th
  • Washington D.C. – January 31st
  • Massachusetts – January 23rd
  • Minnesota – January 13th
  • New York – January 31st
  • Rhode Island – December 31st

Please note: if selecting a plan after December 15th in the above-referenced states, your plan’s start date may be February 1st or March 1st, 2019.

Variables to Consider

Where you live will influence your health insurance decision. Carriers, plans and prices vary widely in each state and county. For example, some states may have a limited ACA plan selection, but will also have non-ACA plans available to choose from, such as Short-Term Medical Plans2. Other states may only have ACA plans and no short-term medical options. A licensed agent will be able to look up your zip code and assess the options available to you.

Weighing in how often you needed to use health care services over the past year and what you expect for the year to come can help to narrow down your plan needs for 2019. If you have pre-existing health conditions which require frequent medical care and/or prescriptions, an ACA plan may likely meet your needs best, whereas non-ACA plans which don’t cover pre-existing conditions and are not guaranteed-issue may fall short.

If you have no pre-existing health conditions and maintain a non-frequent need for doctor visits, an ACA-alternative plan like short-term medical may be the plan for you. Unlike ACA plans, short-term medical plans aren’t required to cover the 10 essential health benefits (e.g. maternity care, mental health, preventative care, prescription drugs, and more). However, there isn’t a one-plan-fit-all, you will find a range of benefit levels, monthly premiums and deductibles that may fit your needs and be at a lower cost than ACA plans.

Coverage Decision

All in all, you have options. Make your decision before the Open enrollment deadline. Depending on the coverage offerings in your area, your monthly budget, and your health needs and preferences, you can find a plan that fits your circumstances.

Questions to consider:

  • Does your income qualify you for financial help with ACA premiums?
  • Would you rather pay more for monthly premiums and less out-of-pocket?
  • Or pay less on premiums but have a larger deductible and potential for substantial out-of-pocket costs?

We know that making these decisions can be confusing. That’s why we have licensed agents that can work with you to assess your needs and give you a better understanding on which plan is the most affordable and beneficial option for you in your area. The federal Open Enrollment period ends December 15th – get more information and enroll in 2019 coverage by calling 855-652-3171 to speak with a VelaPoint Insurance expert or visit www.velapointmarketplace.com to view options in your area.


1ACA = Short for the “Affordable Care Act.” ACA health insurance plans meet the minimum essential coverage requirements and cover pre-existing conditions as well as the 10 essential health benefits (e.g. maternity care, mental health, preventative care, prescription drugs, and more). ACA plans also offer subsidies and premium tax credits to eligible individuals based on income. These subsidies and credits are designed to lower your ACA plan’s monthly premium. Individuals may only enroll in ACA coverage during the annual Open Enrollment Period (November 1st – December 15th) unless they have a Qualifying Life Event. Visit Healthcare.gov for more information.
2Short Term Medical (STM) and other ACA-alternative plans are medically underwritten and are not required to meet the minimum essential coverage requirements or provide the 10 essential health benefits as mandated by the ACA. This means that non-ACA plans may not cover certain types of services, including but not limited to: maternity care, mental health, preventative care, and prescription drugs. Non-ACA plans are also not required to cover pre-existing conditions. STM plans vary per state. Consult with a licensed agent for details.