1. Should I care about health insurance?
Yes! Health insurance is important for better health. Those with health insurance are more likely to receive preventive health care, such as screenings and annual exams, and are less likely to go to the Emergency Department for non-emergency needs.
In addition, most individuals are required by law to have health insurance in 2015. Open Enrollment is only available until February 15, 2014. We recommend that you enroll before December 15, 2014, so that coverage will begin on January 1, 2015. (Note that some individuals can enroll later due to “life changes,” which may include death, divorce, birth or a change in employer coverage.)
2. Can I just wait to sign up if I get sick or injured?
No, health insurance is not retroactive and will not cover care that has already been provided. In addition, it could take from two-to-six weeks for a new health insurance plan to become active during the Open Enrollment period. After February 15, 2015 you will not have another opportunity to obtain coverage until November 15, 2015, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
3. Will I save money? Can I get a discount?
Most Montanans will qualify for lower premiums or some financial assistance on health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, in the form of tax credits to offset the monthly premium cost for coverage or discounts on the costs when medical services are received for persons with incomes between 100 and 400% of Federal Poverty Level. For example, one person may qualify for lower monthly premium costs with an estimated household income from $11,650 to $46,680. Learn about more affordable health insurance options at www.healthcare.gov.
4. Can I see my favorite doctor?
Probably, but it’s important to make sure your favorite doctor(s), providers, hospital and pharmacy are in-network in your chosen insurance plan before you enroll. Billings Clinic is in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield, PacificSource and Montana Health CO-OP Access Care, WINhealth and Time/Assurant Health plans. Billings Clinic is out-of-network in Montana Health CO-OP Connected Care plans and you will pay more out-of-pocket costs to see Billings Clinic under these plans.
5. Are my medications covered?
To be sure, we recommend that you check with the insurance company(ies) you are considering to see if your medications are covered by the plan’s “formulary.” The formulary is the list of prescribed medications covered by an insurance plan.
6. Can I pay less for my kid’s health insurance?
It’s very possible. Many children qualify for free or low-cost health insurance through Healthy Montana Kids, the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. You can find out if you qualify for Healthy Montana Kids or for financial assistance on a family health insurance plan by going to www.healthcare.gov.
7. If I have Medicare, do I need to do something for the Health Insurance Marketplace?
No, you don’t need to do anything. If you have questions about Medicare, please call Billings Clinic Senior Life at 406-657-4400 or toll-free at 1-800-332-7156, ext. 4400.
8. Can I change the insurance plan I already picked?
If you enrolled for 2014, you can change to another plan for 2015, or re-enroll in the plan you are in now. Once you enroll for 2015, it may be difficult to change your plan.
9. This is confusing. How can I get help?
Billings Clinic has Certified Application Counselors (CACs) who can assist you with questions or help you enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Call our Certified Application Counselors at 406-238-2601 or toll-free at 1-800-332-7156, ext. 2601. Scheduled appointments are available from 7 am to 6 pm.
In addition, there are CACs and Navigators available at many other health care organizations, hospitals and communities in our region. To find local help near you, go to www.healthcare.gov and click on “Find Local Help.”
Billings Clinic has been designated as a Certified Application Assistance Organization. To learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace and options for affordable coverage, call Patient Financial Services at 406-238-2601.