Did you ever call an insurance or your cell phone company and come out $500-$1000 years richer from little changes you didn't know about.
You're all proud of yourself till it dons on you..."I've been paying extra for the past 5 years!"
Little bit of good news/bad news.
Still a win though so let's see if we can do the same thing with Covered Ca.
We have enrolled 1000's of people in Covered since 2014 and our reviews are solid:
So let's share the biggest threats to savings we see on a daily basis. Of course, we're happy to help with newly enrolling or even existing Covered Ca accounts.
Zero cost for our assistance.
Here are the Tips we'll cover:
Let's get started. With the most important piece!
This is everything now.
Let's hit the highlights first:
This is probably the biggest issue we see when people self-enroll. Their income estimate is completely off!
Usually to their detriment.
The period of time is this year (period we're insuring) so next April's tax filing.
What if your income bounces around a lot? Average it out over a year's time.
Here's the issue there. It takes medi-cal a good 30 days minimum to figure out that you're not eligible. We see people get very frustrated with the "process" to clean this up.
Ideally, you take your annual income estimate and enter it that way staring the 1st of the year.
We can help with the income. Designate us (no cost to you as Certified Covered Ca agents) and we'll look at the account and see if the income or other issues on the app are going to trainrwreck your outcome.
That's only the first of about a dozen errors we see on apps every day. Get a professional once-over to make sure everything looks good.
Let's talk about the "who" now.
This is another big driver of paying too much.
Regardless of whether they're enrolling!
The size of household affects the tax credit for the people that are enrolling.
$40K for 2 people is very different than $40K for 1 person.
You have to include household income (that AGI on the 1040 from above)
A married person can't just list their income and they must file jointly to get the tax credit.
Otherwise, you may find you're paying it all back when file taxes the next year!
We can help guide both the change (Covered Ca's system is finicky at best) and strategize the best course with any household change.
Changes in "number" such as marriage can have a huge impact on costs!
Let's turn to the plans.
We have a handy PlanFinder that walks through the basics but a few pointers.
So...always compare your annual premium difference versus the deductible first.
That's a pretty good way to find the sweet spot.
The tax credit goes up as we get older so some plans will have zero cost depending on the income level.
That being said, there can be huge price swings within a given plan.
So beyond price, it's really about network. HMO versus PPO versus EPO
And size of network. How many doctors are there and are the hospitals you want to use in-network.
Again, happy to help with questions.
Let's touch base on the more catastrophic plans and confusion there.
There are generally 2 bronze plans available:
Usually, the HDHP is the better choice even if you don't want to fund an HSA (more on HSA plans here).
We're happy to compare but the HDHP usually comes out ahead.
Preventative is covered at 100% on all plans (in-network).
Let's turn to where most people end up.
In California, if your income is in certain ranges, you'll get different versions of the silver plan for the same rate!
Many people get the 87. Our PlanFinder has the current rate chart.
Look..if you're being offer the Silver 94 or 87, stop looking.
Just find the best carrier and network for your situation (doctors, hospitals, and care decisions) and you're off to the races.
We're big fans of high deductible plans but not when we're subsidizing a Platinum plan!
The quoting tool will show you what version of silver you get and you can play with the income up top when you run the quote here:
Another big issue we see is with self-employed people listing their income.
Again, the AGI (1st page of the 1040 tax form) should capture all relevant income including what comes from self-employment.
If you're just starting your business or this year's income might be quite different (up or down) to your last tax filing, a few pointers:
The bulk of this decision is your gross self-employment income minus business income.
We're happy to walk through your situation.
Remember the drop from $1600/month to zero in premium above from an income change?
If you have big changes during the year including:
Then...you want to update the system!
Their system is very finicky.
We can help with this process but there's a huge reason to update with bigger changes.
Changes in family make-up (remember....the 1040 form is their guide) also can have huge repercussions.
We can run quotes on your after situation to see how it will impact you (say from a marriage) and help you strategize how best to handle all this.
You may be able to change plans if the change is big enough and we need to reevaluate plans and rates.
We do this all the time! Either enroll here or designate us here.
Let's talk about the big change.
I have a great idea for the incredibly stressful Holidays...let's do health insurance!
Said nobody ever.
Look...we get it. You would rather pull teeth than have to dive into all the health insurance stuff but it's so important.
For one, we're now estimating for the next year! Any big changes (especially income) expected?
Also the carriers and plans can change rates, networks, and more.
That plan you have now might not be as competitive as another carrier. To the tune of $1000/s per year.
Or the rate may have exploded higher for the next year and you need to either downgrade the plan type (say Gold to Silver) or to a different model (say PPO to EPO or HMO) or different carrier.
So let's take the pain out of this.
Let us do the work for you at no cost to you!
Just designate us as your Covered Ca agent and we'll run the numbers come November at your request.
We don't push. We don't sell. Look at our reviews. We just help people zero in on the best value.
Apparently enrolling 1000's of Covered Ca members builds some expertise.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (best during busy open enrollment to pick a time to talk) or call 800-320-6269.
We attempt to return all calls the same business day and we're usually processing apps/changes late into the night before deadlines.
Let's look at a practical bonus with any of the plans.
All Covered Ca plans cover preventative at 100% (in-network, covered benefits).
Take advantage of this!
It can be worth 100's of dollars per year since the labs are also included.
A few notes.
The doctor needs to code it as preventative for it to be covered at 100%
Sometimes, they forget to this and people just go ahead and pay the bill (so frustrating).
The labs are really where the cost is!
Again, in-network and make sure they code it correctly. If they don't, have the office recode it.
It's a literal snapshot of your internal cardiovascular system!
They can see diabetes, dementia, arterioscherosis and an ever-increasing list of serious issue YEARS before they become an illness.
You can do things about it then. Get one annually. It's simple and the VSP plan covers it.
Most people don't realize it and Covered Ca doesn't exactly advertise it but you can have different family members on separate plans and still get the tax credit!
You can do that! Bronze for the high deductible and maybe Gold with no deductible for the other spouse.
The total cost may resemble a Silver level with the average.
There are ways to strategize how to group the family members and we're happy to walk through situation on this front.
It can mean $1000's in savings as well per year!
One final note on that.
There's a different income threshold for kids under 19 to get Medi-cal. It's quite a bit higher.
Some families don't mind medi-cal for the kids while others need them on a standard plan to see certain doctors.
There's a way to enroll the kids separately if offered medi-cal so they can have the full networks but we won't get a tax credit for them.
More on kids being offered medi-cal here.
We can run these quotes for you or for any other situation here:
Use our expertise. It's free and 25 years in the making!