Now is the perfect time to save money on individual medical health insurance. Individuals, families and the self employed looking for more inexpensive health insurance are typically finding better deals in the individual market, according to Allan Zee, Founder of Argeus Benefits Group, a national insurance brokerage firm that specializes in health insurance.
The new healthcare law, called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has turned the health insurance industry upside down, Zee said. While ACA has literally sent every health insurer in a tail spin trying to modify their medical insurance policies, business rules and computer systems to comply, consumers have really benefited from the new regulations.
Health insurance policies issued after ACA was enacted in March 2010 are required, among other things, to: 1) cover preventive care screening services at no cost, 2) have an unlimited lifetime maximum benefit on covered healthcare expenses, 3) remove any dollar limit or cap on benefits considered essential (hospitalization, prescription drugs, emergency services, laboratory services, etc.), and 4) have no less than an annual policy maximum per person of $1.25 million in 2012.
These new benefit mandates are important because many medical insurance policies issued prior to March 2010 have limited preventive care benefits or subject them to deductible and coinsurance. Even worse, very low policy limits and benefit restrictions on covered healthcare expenses put insured’s at risk financially if they become sick.
In 2011, other major provisions of the new healthcare law became effective for health insurance companies. These include: 1) the requirement to file and publically post rate increases in excess of 10% and 2) spend eighty cents on every individual medical health insurance premium dollar collected on paying policyholder claims or refund the amount of unspent money (called the Minimum Loss Ratio).
This is very significant because many health insurers are now trying to operate under the radar screen in order avoid negative publicity in the consumer marketplace and undue attention from regulators. Additionally, millions of dollars have been returned this year to policyholders because they spent less than eighty cents of every dollar collected on paying customer claims. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also reported last week evidence of health insurers lowering premiums rather than face the prospect of providing rebates (refunding unspent premiums).
What this means going into 2012 and beyond, according to Zee, if a consumer wants to secure more inexpensive health insurance they should comparison shop. If you shop, you’ll save. Rather than run all around town or contact five insurance agents, many consumers are getting online health insurance quotes, such as offered by healthinsuranceadvisory.org. Consumers can easily shop and compare rates and benefits with top health insurance companies and quickly determine which company provides the best value. The online health insurance quotes represent how the Health Insurance Exchanges will operate in 2014, when the last major piece of the new healthcare law becomes effective