Enrollment in Covered California will not begin until October 1, 2013, but here are some things you can do to get ready.
- Find out if your employer will offer health insurance in 2014? This is especially important if you work for a company with fewer than 50 employees.
- Use this time to understand how health insurance works, including copays, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums. You’ll need to understand these details to be an informed shopper.
- Make a list of questions to have ready when it’s time to choose your health plan. For example,”Will this plan cover my prescription drugs? or “Can I stay with my current doctor?”.
- Know your household income. (You’ll find it on your form 1040 listed as “Adjusted Gross Income”). Most people will qualify for a premium subsidy that will provide a substantial discount on health insurance costs. You’ll need your income information to find out for how much you’re eligible.
- Set your budget. You’ll have to make some trade-offs between what you’d like and what you can spend. Breaking down the choices by cost will help narrow your choices.
- Explore what’s available now. Perhaps you can get help with insurance now. Some changes are already in effect from the new health care law, for example dependent coverage to age 26, guaranteed issue for children, or the Preexisting Conditions Insurance Plan.
The Federal site gives information in to the carriers, i.e. Blue Shield, but the California site does not. (?!)