Navigating the New Health Insurance Marketplace
Enrollment is set to begin October 1st for Virginia’s new health insurance marketplace, which will be operated by the federal government.
The exchange that opens this week is for individuals, while the small business program—known as “SHOP”—will open on November 1st. But not every plan will be available everywhere in the Commonwealth.
Virginians will be able to go on-line to compare plans and prices, fill out applications, and find out if they qualify for premium subsidies or tax credits. State Corporation Commission spokesman Ken Shrad says the SCC is responsible for plan management. “So the Bureau of Insurance recommended a total of nine carriers and over 200 plans of those various carriers for the individual and the SHOP markets.”
Also recommended were 119 dental plans from 13 carriers. But Shrad says the carriers will offer plans within geographic regions with their established provider networks. “And not all carriers are offering coverage in all regions of Virginia. So there may be situations where certain individuals in Virginia that reside in certain areas may have only one carrier and their plans to choose from. Others may have up to four or five carriers to choose from.”
The details can be found at “healthcare.gov.” Consumers should enroll by mid-December for coverage that begins January 1st. Open enrollment ends on March 31st.
Virginians may also contact insurance agents—or find certified navigators or counselors to help them at: enroll-virginia.com.