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Health Insurance plans available off the state exchanges for 2014

CNN reports it may be possible for some individuals to get their health insurance from plans which are not part of the Obamacare exchanges. This may be good news for those who want to buy directly from their brokers or insurers and avoid the state-based exchanges.

The next question is whether or not buying health insurance off the exchange is a good idea for consumers. According to the new law, individuals who are earning less than 400% of the poverty line will be eligible for federal subsidies, assuming they purchase a health plan within the exchange. For these consumers it may not be a good idea to go outside of the exchange.

But what if you don’t qualify for a subsidy? In this case it may make sense to shop around and look for the health insurance plan which best meets your needs.

Will I have adequate coverage from a health plan outside of the exchange?

According to experts, even consumers who choose to find a health plan outside of the exchanges should receive many of the same provisions offered on the exchange. For instance, under Obamare, plans must offer maternity and mental health benefits, plus insurers can't exclude enrollees because of pre-existing conditions. This means insurers have been revitalizing their plans hoping to make them compatible with the new laws.

So why should you look for a health plan which is not part of your state’s exchange? Some experts suggest that insurers may work to retain some of their long-term customers, providing better policies which may have “comprehensive doctors' networks or lower drug co-pays.” Some of the more established plans may also be able to offer these benefits while avoiding some of the restrictions of the exchange plans, restrictions which may be necessary to keep the premiums affordable.

But the main reason many consumers will want to avoid exchange health insurance plans is to limit the enrollment hassle. Like everything related to the government, enrolling in an exchange health insurance plan is likely to be cumbersome, inefficient and invasive. For instance, many experts have noted that it’s likely the Federal Government will have a “hub” where medical information and personal data is centralized so it can be verified by federal government agencies.

Privacy advocates have every right to be concerned. There is a growing encroachment of the government into our daily lives and many individuals have decided they don’t want anything to do with Obamacare or have the government intrusion into their lives anymore.

How do I compare health insurance coverage options?

Experts do note, however, that shopping around for insurance and comparing pricing and premiums could be one of the toughest challenges for shoppers. This is especially true if you want to purchase health insurance from an exchange where policies may be sold by different companies or insurance agents. If you decide to purchase an exchange plan, however, there will be a website where consumers can easily browse and compare different plans.

Unfortunately, there have been many issues implementing Obamacare, and it’s yet to be seen if the government is capable of implementing this behemoth legislation that no one understands or bothered to read.
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