Is Your ACA Premium Going Down This Year?

It’s almost time for ACA open enrollment, which means it’s time to learn how much we’ll be paying in ACA insurance premiums!

I just got my 2019 Health Insurance Renewal Packet, and my insurer informed me that, for the first time in forever, my monthly premiums might actually be lower. My current Bronze plan has a monthly premium of $548.46, though I’m only paying $248.46 thanks to a $300 subsidy. Next year’s Bronze plan premium will be $442.83, and I might only end up paying $142.83 if I get the same subsidy. (It’ll be close. I might lose some subsidy money, both this year and next year, since I’ll be reporting both my own freelance income and The Billfold’s income on my personal tax return.)

I’ll go from a $6,000 deductible to a $6,200 deductible, and my out-of-pocket maximum will go from $6,650 to $6,750. The big change, however, is that I’ll lose out-of-network coverage. To quote my Renewal Packet:

Unless it’s an emergency, you have no coverage if you visit a provider who is not in your plan’s network. This means you’ll be responsible for the full cost of your care.

On the surface, this doesn’t seem like too big of a deal — I can just keep going to the in-network providers I’ve been seeing and I’ll be fine — but I’ve heard horror stories about people receiving care from out-of-network doctors even though they were in an in-network hospital. Plus, what happens if you travel? My insurer’s 2019 Iowa Health Plan Portfolio lists a Nationwide Travel Network as one of the “Extras to Make Your Plan Even Better,” but it’s unclear whether it will cost extra.

Currently, my insurer is the only ACA-eligible insurer in the state of Iowa; there have been a few rumors about another insurer jumping into the ACA game, but so far that hasn’t happened. I’ll have to wait until Open Enrollment on November 1 to compare all of my available plans and see which one makes the most sense for my anticipated income and healthcare needs — but I’m curious whether any of you have gotten your 2019 Health Insurance Renewal Packets, and whether your options are better or worse than they were last year.

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