BATON ROUGE, La. – Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana reminds those buying individual health plans on Healthcare.Gov that they must enroll in a plan by Dec. 15 to have their coverage begin on Jan. 1, 2022.
“Even though the annual Open Enrollment Period lasts until Jan. 15, if you want coverage that’s effective as you start the New Year, sign up by next Wednesday,” said Blue Cross Health Care Economist and Straight Talk multimedia blog author Mike Bertaut. “You can still enroll in a plan after that date, but your coverage won’t begin until Feb. 1, 2022.”
Bertaut reminds Louisianians that changes in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (COVID-19 relief bill) that took effect earlier this year now help more people than ever qualify for financial assistance to buy health plans.
“If you don’t get health insurance through an employer, I’d encourage you to start shopping,” Bertaut said. “There are plans available in every parish and ZIP code on Healthcare.Gov, and coverage is now more affordable than ever.”
As people look at their health plan options, Bertaut shares some key things to consider when determining the total cost of coverage:
• Are the doctors you see regularly for care and any hospitals or clinics you’d prefer to go to included in the network?
• How are any prescription drugs you take covered, and what would you pay out-of-pocket at the pharmacy?
• What is your out-of-pocket cost-share – copay, deductible or coinsurance for any health services you’ll have?
• Do you know you’ll have a big health care need in 2022, such as delivering a baby, having surgery or getting a screening or test? Check to see how this would be covered on the plan you’re considering.
“Don’t pick your plan based solely on the premium price - make sure you’ll be able to use your health benefits the way you need to. You don’t want to end up in an accident or emergency situation and be on the hook for large out-of-network charges,” Bertaut said. “Planning ahead and taking the time to shop around for coverage can help you choose the best plan for your family and avoid high costs down the line.”
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.