Holiday Healthcare Shopping

Okay we made it past Thanksgiving! Which means holiday shopping season has begun. The list of toys, electronics and clothes start to pile up quickly in the next few weeks. All of the sales; Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday make up the ‘Holy Week of Retail Shopping’.

What is the healthcare marketplace?

Don’t forget your health insurance. Open Enrollment for plans offered through the marketplace are available until December 15, 2019. The purchased plans are then active starting on January 1, 2020, the first of the year. The marketplace is the one-stop shop for the health coverage that meets your specific needs. So in order to navigate this process I wanted to give you a few tips.

Applying for insurance through the healthcare marketplace

In order to qualify, you need to live in the United States, be a U.S. citizen or national, and not be currently incarcerated. Right now, undocumented persons are not eligible to apply for insurance through the marketplace. (I want to explore this further and see what options there might be for a future article.)

Don’t fear the price tag at first

Insurance through the marketplace can come with tax credits or Medicaid (public insurance for low-income individuals) may be offered to you based on your income. Which means having a good way to estimate your income is important. For starters, look at your tax returns or pay stubs from the last year to get a sense of how much you make, and then adjust for realistic increases or decreases in pay like raises or bonus or loss of income.

Check the prices and check them twice

Health insurance can be confusing, so know the basics of how much it will cost you and when the insurance company will kick in for services. Premiums will be the amount you pay every month. Deductibles would be the amount you pay for a service before the insurance company will cover the claim.  And finally, co-pay or co-insurance is a basic fee for service at a doctor's office or hospital visit.

Get guidance

Okay, that was a lot! I do recommend getting some guidance in this process and the website has a helpful link to get you connected with assisters that will be about to walk you through various options and answer questions.

Navigating health insurance is challenging

All in all, these are just my experiences and tips for navigating this challenging subject. My last piece of experiential knowledge is to seek care at a clinic or public health office as a first step to your own health and happiness even if you have no insurance. The support staff will usually be your guide to getting you connected to coverage.

Support programs for people living with HIV

For people living with HIV Check out additional support programs like the Ryan White program and options available at the state level here.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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