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“Do I really need health insurance?” It’s a question many Oklahoma residents ask themselves regularly. In times like these, where your health could be compromised just by getting too close to someone, having health insurance is vital to your overall well-being. Not only does medical coverage help you reduce the cost of out of pocket expenses, but it ensures that you are getting the care you deserve. But how do you find the right Oklahoma medical insurance for you and your family?
You check rates and compare benefits then enroll during open enrollment.
Before you begin to compare Oklahoma health plans, however, you need to know how to navigate the marketplace and what to expect. We already did the research for you, so all you need to do is keep reading.
Types of Health Plans
Oklahoma health insurance has four different levels available: bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. If you are under 30 or are eligible through a hardship exemption, you may also be able to enroll in catastrophic health insurance. Aside from these metal tiers, you can also find variations in health plans, such as HMO vs. PPO.
The four available health plans in OK include:
Most HMOs require the enrollee to select a primary care physician (PCP) who then coordinates with other providers. You will need referrals to see specialists within the network. Going out of network results in zero coverage of costs. HMOs often have low deductibles and a copayment.
You don’t need a primary care physician or referrals with a PPO. The cost is higher, because you have more flexibility. PPOs often require you to pay most of the deductible before covering the cost of your medical care.
Provisions through the ACA allow you to make a tax-free contribution to an FSA. These are used to cover out of pocket expenses that may not be covered by your health insurance plan, like OTC medications.
A HDHP with an HSA lets you get more in control of expenses and premiums. Basically, you set aside funds that can be used to cover healthcare. Interest is tax-deferred and unused roll over every year.
Why You Should Have Oklahoma Medical Insurance
If you are still waffling about getting medical coverage, then you should consider the cost of even a prescription drug out of pocket. Some medications can cost hundreds of dollars, such as insulin. If you cannot afford life-saving medicine, then there is no way you would be able to cover the cost of a few days of hospitalization. These days, many Americans go bankrupt because of unpaid medical expenses.
Oklahoma health insurance is just one of the ways to ensure that you are protected from the exorbitant costs of healthcare. Not only that, but there are now Affordable Care Act essential health benefits that have reduced costs. Some are even provided for free as part of preventive care.
The essential health benefits are:
Aside from the ACA’s essential health benefits, Oklahoma also has mandated benefits that are made to exceed the requirements of federal regulations. The additional benefits include:
What is not considered a health benefit? That would be anything non-essential, such as cosmetic surgery, travel vaccinations, male birth control, and the like.
Short Term Health Insurance
Before 2019, Oklahoma was much more strict with its short term health insurance regulations. However, in November 2019, the state changed the rules. Now, short term health plans defer to federal guidelines. You can get an initial policy that lasts up to 364 days. After that firs term, you can re-enroll for a total of 36 months.
If you recently lost your job, are between jobs, or need insurance while waiting for your long-term coverage to kick in, then an affordable short term plan may be right for you.
What You Need To Know About Oklahoma Health Insurance
Oklahoma uses the federally-run health insurance exchange, also called the Marketplace. The state has dealt with a high population of uninsured individuals and also has a fair amount of people on Medicaid. There are three medical insurers available on the exchange: Bright Health Insurance Company, Medica Insurance Company, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma.
Individual health insurance availability in Oklahoma depends largely on where you are located. Some policies are only for residents of a certain county, such as Bright Health’s Silver 4 insurance. Age also plays a role in how much you pay for an individual policy. For example, a 21 year old will pay a monthly premium of $338 for catastrophic coverage, $327 for bronze, $500 for expanded bronze, $550 for silver, and $516 for gold. A 40 year old pays around $420 a month for bronze, $639 for expanded bronze, $703 for silver, and $660 for gold. Someone who is 60 years old pays double what a 40 year old pays–$1,356 a month for silver, and $1,401 for gold.
Family size is the major indicator of how much you will pay for family health insurance. You pay a flat rate for children up to 15 years old. After that, the rate increases. A family of three pays a monthly premium of $1,827, while a family of five might pay closer to $2,700.
The best way to see how much you would pay is to compare Oklahoma health plans with AffordableHealthPlansUSA.com. Use your zip code to get started.
Unemployed, Part-Time, and Self-Employed
Oklahoma offers unemployment benefits for those who had been impacted by the downturn in the US economy that led to millions losing their jobs. Though some employers offer COBRA insurance, a better route to take for health insurance for unemployed individuals is to search for either short term health insurance or to make use of the special enrollment period (SEP). If you can make use of the hardship exemption, you may even be able to secure a catastrophic policy.
Health insurance for self-employed Oklahoma residents is just like individual policies, especially if you have no other employees. If you do, you may be able to get small business health insurance. Otherwise, you may be able to receive tax credits. Part-time employees can follow the same path to getting health insurance, and if you fall below the Federal Poverty Line, you may be granted subsidies to lessen the financial burden.
Differences Between 2020 Open Enrollment and 2021
Recently, the Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) released a statement saying that insurance plans that fall under the Affordable Care Act will see a statewide rate increase of 2.7 percent. Three insurers that were offering Oklahoma individual health plans last year will be available again for 2021, including Bright Health and Medical Insurance Company and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma (BCBSOK). Additionally, CommunityCare Oklahoma (CCOK), Oscar Health, and UnitedHealthCare (UHC) will join the marketplace to provide consumers with more choices for 2021 Oklahoma open enrollment.
The open enrollment period for Oklahoma begins on November 1, 2020, and will end on December 15, 2020. Any insurance into which you enroll will begin coverage on January 1, 2021. In the event you lose health insurance coverage before or after the open enrollment window, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period (SEP). You need to have experienced a qualifying event, but if you have lost employer-based insurance, you are most likely eligible.
Keep Yourself and Your Family Protected
Have an individual medical insurance plan can protect you from bankruptcy and guarantees that your needs will be met. Don’t risk your life by avoiding the premiums. You may be eligible for financial assistance as an Oklahoma resident, so you have nothing to lose. Protect yourself and your loved ones with health insurance.
Don’t wait any longer to research 2021 health insurance quotes! If you want to secure the best deal, then you need to begin today—before open enrollment even begins. AffordableHealthPlansUSA.com can help you find the best policy for you and your family. The best part? All you need is a zip code.