Shopping for Health Coverage
As of October 1, 2013, the new Health Insurance Marketplace is open. The Health Insurance Marketplace, or Health Insurance Exchange, is a new marketplace where individuals and small businesses may choose to shop for and compare health coverage. In Michigan, the Health Insurance Marketplace is operated by the federal government. Open enrollment is October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014. For coverage to start on January 1, 2014, you would need to enroll by December 15, 2013. To access the Marketplace or to learn more, visit: www.healthcare.gov.
Individuals can shop for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace or outside in the overall market. It is important to note that for coverage in 2014, no individual plans will be available for purchase outside of the open enrollment period of October 1, 2013 - March 31, 2014.
Please see below for current information if you are shopping for coverage to start prior to 2014.
It can be a challenge to find coverage that meets your health care needs and fits your budget. Health coverage that covers more tends to cost more. Before shopping, you may wish to visit the link “Health Coverage Basics for Michigan,” to learn more about different types of policies available to consumers, certain minimum coverage requirements and explanations of many key terms.
Consider the following when shopping for health coverage:
- Do your best to balance the cost (monthly premium) of a policy with the protection it offers
- Determine what you will have to pay for covered services (deductible, coinsurance, copayments, and out-of-pocket limit)
- Estimate costs for non-covered care (services excluded or limited by the policy) and charges (fees above what the plan recognizes)
- Avoid policies that don’t have some kind of maximum out-of-pocket limit on covered charges
- Don’t mistake insurance-like products for comprehensive coverage
If you are shopping for health coverage, you may wish to contact an insurance agent for assistance or you may contact health carriers directly by phone or online.
FINDING AN INSURANCE AGENT:
The following is a link where you can type in your zip code and get a list of insurance agents in your area that may be able to provide you with health coverage quotes: Search Criteria for Insurance Agencies.
CONTACT INFORMATION FOR CARRIERS THAT SELL HEALTH COVERAGE IN MICHIGAN:
HMOs - The following two links would be useful for shopping for coverage from an HMO and HMO contact information is included: HMO open enrollment periods, HMO service areas.
Health Insurance Companies - The following is a list with contact information for all health insurance companies that are actively writing health coverage in Michigan. Click here for Authorized Major Medical Companies.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan - 1-877-4MY-BLUE or www.bcbsm.com.
OPTIONAL METHODS TO COMPARE HEALTH CARRIERS:
Note: The Department of Insurance and Financial Services does not rate or recommend health carriers!
Private Rating Firms
Several private firms specialize in evaluating the finances and services of insurance companies or health maintenance organizations. Each of these agencies has its own methods and standards and gives grades to the companies based on their judgment of how well the company is doing.
Contact information for some of the most popular rating firms is listed below. There may be a charge for some reports. Several of these rating firms publish books with their ratings, so you may also be able to find what you need at your local library. Before you rely on any report, make sure you understand the rating system because each firm has its own grading system. For example, one firm may use "A+" as its top grade, while another may go all the way up to "A+++."
A.M. Best Company
Web site: www.ambest.com
Fitch Investor's Service
Web site: www.fitchibca.com
Moody's Investor Service
Web site: www.moodys.com
Standard & Poor's
Web site: www.standardandpoors.com
Links to health carrier complaint information:
Health Insurance companies and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Links to health carrier financial information:
Health Insurance Companies Financial Information
HMO Financial Information
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Financial Information