With more carriers and more plans, residents are encouraged to compare options before enrolling or re-enrolling in health coverage
CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—November 7, 2014. As open enrollment approaches for the second year of Get Covered Illinois (GCI), the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI) announced today that the number of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has more than doubled from 165 plans offered in 2014 to more than 400 plans being offered in 2015.
“With more carriers offering plans in year two, there are more choices for consumers,” said DOI Director Andrew Boron. “Increased competition has led to competitive pricing and individuals, families and small businesses will have access to an even wider selection of affordable health care options in 2015.”
DOI also released information on the average change in premium levels across the state’s thirteen rating areas. Premiums for the lowest cost Silver plans will see a decrease or modest increase ranging from a 5 percent decrease to a 5 percent increase in the majority of counties. Overall, the premiums for the lowest cost Silver plans will see an average premium increase of just 2.6 percent across the state. Premiums for the lowest cost Bronze plan vary from a decrease of 3 percent to an increase of 19 percent, with an average increase of 11 percent across the state. Premiums for the lowest cost Gold plans range from a decrease of seven percent to an increase of 18 percent.
Officials with GCI, or the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, stressed that in order to get the best deal possible, consumers need to compare all of the plans that are available in their area. For example, in some cases in which a plan has premium increases, consumers will be able to find a different plan at the same metal level at a slightly increased or even a decreased premium.
“We have hundreds of trained professionals offering free, in-person assistance and we encourage everyone – whether you are a first-time enrollee or someone who enrolled last year – to compare plans before enrolling this year,” said GCI Executive Director Jennifer Koehler. “There are more options available and our mission is to help consumers make a choice that works best for their budget.”
Koehler said that for consumers who are re-enrolling for the second year, it is important that they update their income information in order to ensure they receive the correct amount of financial assistance. In year one, 77 percent of the 217,000 consumers who signed up for coverage in the Marketplace received some financial assistance based on their income.
Three additional insurers will be offering plans on the Marketplace in 2015, including IlliniCare Health Plan, Inc., Time Insurance Company and UnitedHealthcare of the Midwest, Inc. With these new carriers, the following insurers are participating in 2015:
• Coventry Health and Life Insurance Company
• Coventry Health Care of Illinois, Inc.
• Health Alliance Medical Plans, Inc.
• Health Care Service Corporation, A Mutual Legal Reserve Company (Blue Cross)
• Humana Health Plan, Inc.
• Humana Insurance Company
• IlliniCare Health Plan, Inc.
• Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company
• Time Insurance Company
• UnitedHealthcare of the Midwest, Inc.
Three insurers are offering plans to the Small Group Marketplace (SHOP). In 2015 the Marketplace will offer more statewide and multi-state plans, including 17 plans offered on the Individual Marketplace and 13 offered on SHOP. A minimum of 56 plans will be offered in all 102 counties, which is an increase from the 48 plans per county in 2014. Consumers in most counties will see an increase in plan options. The increase in plan options and participation by insurers has resulted in increased competition that will benefit consumers.
Plans on the Marketplace are grouped by metal levels ranging from Bronze (for lowest cost premiums) through Silver, Gold and Platinum (highest premiums). However, Bronze plans generally have the highest out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance, while Platinum plans would have the lowest out-of-pocket costs.
In year one of the Marketplace, 56 percent of those who enrolled picked a Silver plan, 29 percent picked a Bronze plan, 15 percent picked Gold and 1 percent picked Platinum.
Individuals and families with income between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the Marketplace.
DOI released several examples of how the subsidies would affect the actual rates consumers pay:
• A single 30-year old in Chicago or Peoria, with a household income of $23,000 could be eligible for a subsidy of $72 per month in Chicago or $88 in Peoria, that could bring their monthly cost to $119 per month in both cities on the second lowest cost Silver plan, versus paying $121 per month for that plan in 2014.
• A couple from Chicago or Peoria, both aged 55, with household income of $40,000 could be eligible for a subsidy of $479 in Chicago and $540 in Peoria that could bring their costs for the second lowest Silver plan to about $273 per month in 2015 versus about $276 for that plan in 2014.
Get Covered Illinois has helped more than 700,000 Illinois residents obtain health coverage in the first year of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, including the Marketplace and Medicaid enrollees.
Open enrollment for the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will begin on November 15, 2014 and continue through February 15, 2015. You must select a plan by December 15, 2014 to avoid being automatically re-enrolled in your 2014 plan and to ensure you have coverage on January 1, 2015. For further information or to enroll during open enrollment, visit the Get Covered Illinois website at www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov or by phone at 1-866-311-1119.