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When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010, it opened the door to providing health insurance to more people through the Health Insurance Marketplace—commonly also referred to as the Health Insurance Exchange.
Whether you know it as the Marketplace, the Exchange, “Obamacare” or something else, if you utilize the Health Exchange for your health insurance coverage, it pays to know your options. The Marketplace offers a variety of health savings account (HSA) eligible high-deductible health plan (HDHP) options for both individuals and families, which can save you money on monthly premiums and even more through the tax advantages you receive by using an HSA.
If you’re in the market to update your Marketplace plan or get coverage for the first time through the Health Insurance Exchange this year, take a few minutes to read up on some quick tips on smart Marketplace shopping.
Whether you get your health insurance coverage through the federally facilitated Marketplace at HealthCare.gov or use one of the state-based Marketplaces (depending on where you live), the same tips for smart Marketplace shopping hold true when comparing your HDHP options.
First, know that every plan sold through an official Healthcare Exchange is fully compliant with the Affordable Care Act. Beware that many private websites mimic the look of official Marketplace sites, and commonly pop up as ads at the top of internet browser searches. In order to make sure you’re looking at ACA-compliant options, be sure you’re using an official Marketplace site—either federal or state. Luckily, when it comes to HDHPs, they need to be ACA-compliant regardless of where you purchase them—we’ll touch a bit more on that soon.
Knowing whatever HDHP option you choose complies with the ACA, you can focus on three key elements:
While we’re focusing on purchasing coverage in the Marketplace, it’s worth a quick mention that you do also have off-Marketplace options for HSA-eligible HDHPs.
There may be circumstances where you’d want to explore your off-Exchange options, especially if you’re not eligible for any premium subsidies. Without any premium tax credit, you may be able to find more affordable HDHP options outside of the Marketplace, especially for Silver-level plans.
And even if you’re eligible for premium subsidies, you may still want to look outside the Health Insurance Exchange if you receive ongoing treatment from providers who are only in-network with off-Marketplace insurers or other unique circumstances.
Remember—ultimately where you purchase your health insurance coverage is your choice. Take the time to shop around to find the coverage that’s right—and most cost-effective—for you.
And speaking of your choice, if you purchase HSA-eligible HDHP coverage on or off the Marketplace, remember that’s only your first step in a two-step process:
Another awesome benefit of choosing HSA-eligible HDHP coverage is that you get to choose your HSA provider, so choose wisely. No different that comparing your health plan options, compare HSA providers and don’t settle for any provider who offers a basic, transactional account loaded with hidden fees and limited capabilities. If you partner with an industry leader like Bend, you’ll get a powerful, easy-to-use health savings account with all the tools you need to make the most of your HSA—with none of the headaches.
And even if you already have an HSA through another provider, know that you can transfer your existing HSA over to another provider at any time. The choice is yours.
Remember, whether you purchase your coverage through the Marketplace or off-Exchange, you can only buy coverage during the annual open enrollment period or if you experience a qualifying life event that allows you to have a special enrollment period, like marriage or birth of a child.
For 2021 coverage that goes into effect January 1, 2021, open enrollment runs in most states (for all that enroll through the federal HealthCare.gov site) from November 1 through December 15. Other states have specific websites and timelines to enroll—you can find the list here.
No matter where you buy your health insurance, make sure you don’t miss the open enrollment deadline specific to your state.
At Bend, we know an HDHP plus HSA combination can work for anyone, regardless of age, income level or health circumstance. And we know the Marketplace offers many great options for HSA-eligible HDHP coverage.
Pairing an HDHP with an HSA is an extremely effective, affordable and tax-advantaged way for individuals and families to save and pay for current and future expenses while taking a more active role in their healthcare. Along with the lower premiums that come with an HDHP, HSA participants enjoy a triple tax advantage, flexibility of use, account portability, rollovers, investment opportunities and more.
Take some time this open enrollment season to see how choosing an HSA-eligible HDHP can make your healthcare dollars work smarter for you. Then connect with us to open your Bend HSA and take the first steps to better financial wellness. It’s quick, easy and painless when you partner with Bend.