BATON ROUGE, La. – The annual Open Enrollment Period for those buying individual health plans on Healthcare.Gov begins today. The federal government recently extended this enrollment period through Jan. 15, 2022.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds Louisianians that changes in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (COVID-19 relief bill) that took effect earlier this year now make it easier to find affordable healthcare coverage.
“With the American Rescue Plan Act changes, more people than ever qualify for financial assistance to buy health plans,” said Blue Cross Health Economist and Straight Talk multimedia blog author Mike Bertaut. “If you don’t get healthcare coverage through an employer, or you recently lost your job-based healthcare coverage, I’d encourage you to create a Healthcare.Gov account or update your existing account. Shop for 2022 plans and see what’s available to you.”
When you create a Healthcare.Gov account and enter your income information, the site will alert you if you qualify for Louisiana’s Medicaid program. If you sign up for a Healthcare.Gov plan by Dec. 15, 2021, your coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2022. If you sign up after Dec. 15 and by Jan. 15, 2022, your coverage will begin Feb. 1, 2022.
As people look at their health plan options, there are some key things to keep in mind, Bertaut said.
“Make a list of the doctors you see regularly for care and any prescription drugs you take,” Bertaut said. “Then, as you explore choices, check the provider network to make sure you can keep seeing your doctors. Note how your medications are covered and what your out-of-pocket costs would be at the pharmacy. You should also make sure the hospital you’d prefer to go to if needed is in network for your plan.”
“Don’t just make your choice on premium price alone,” he said. “Make sure you’ll be able to use your health benefits the way you need to and know what your health services cost-share – copay, deductible or coinsurance – will be before you buy. That will give you the true picture of what your healthcare coverage costs.”
Checking the network and how services are covered is especially important if you know you’ll have a big healthcare need in the next year, like delivering a baby or having surgery, Bertaut added.
Hometown Productions issued a video news release (4:30) featuring Bertaut that gives more information about the 2022 Healthcare.Gov Open Enrollment Period and how to sign up for a health plan.
Those shopping on healthcare.gov also can use the following resources:
Straight Talk Blog and Videos
Bertaut is the primary author of Straight Talk, Blue Cross’ multimedia blog on healthcare costs, trends and policy. The blog is typically updated weekly. Visitors to www.StraightTalkLA.com can sign up to get the Straight Talk e-newsletter.
Recently, Bertaut shared information in Straight Talk about how to get covered, including breaking down American Rescue Plan Act changes and explaining in-depth how you should consider your health plan choices for 2022.
A recent Straight Talk video (2:41) features an animated Bertaut as a car salesman, comparing the different types of health plan options (HMO, PPO, select network) to buying different models of cars, making it easier to understand choices.
Connect With An Agent
Need help reviewing your plan options? You can work with a licensed, experienced agent at no cost. Connect with one by visiting www.GetPlanOptions.com or calling 1-844-GET-BLUE (1-844-438-2583). There is no obligation to buy because you speak to an agent.
NOTE FOR MEDIA: Bertaut and other Blue Cross spokespeople are available for interviews about Open Enrollment Period. Email Blue Cross Strategic Communications to request interviews.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past three years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.