Traditional Health Insurance

Traditional plans include companies that you are most likely familiar with that serve both individuals and company plans including Kaiser, Cigna, BrightHealth, Anthem (Blue Cross / Blue Shield), etc.

After Obama Care, they came in “standardized” levels so that they can me more easily compared: namely Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  Typically you pay less monthly with the lower level plans, but will have higher deductibles and co-pays if you need care.  On Gold plans, you will pay more monthly, but then have more covered in the case that you use it.  It is important to match the level of insurance with anticipated medical needs.  If you know that you are going to require major medical surgery or treatment, it may be a good idea to upgrade for the following year.  Obviously emergencies are harder to plan for.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) are only available with “high deductible plans.”  This is a nice feature because it allows you to save for medical expenses / deductibles pre-tax in a separate account.  You own this money, so you don’t have to spend it by year end, and can even be used when you get into retirement years to pay for things like long-term care.  The main downside is that most people select the high deductible plans, but do not set aside the tax-advantaged money into the HSA.

Subsidies: Typically, individuals can access traditional plans through employers or through the Colorado Health Exchange.  If your income is below a certain level you may qualify for a government subsidy for your plan.  If your income is even low, you may be covered (for “free”) under Medicaid.  Sometimes, even if you are on a plan, your children may still qualify for Medicaid.

When you can access:  You can only change plans if you have a life event (such as losing employment, divorce, marriage, childbirth, etc.).  Open enrollment (to change plans) for the following calendar year takes place in November of each year.

Evelyn can help you to run quotes including your subsidy to compare your options.