By Max Friedman
It’s that time of year. No, I’m not talking about the holiday season – it’s time to re-enroll for health insurance on Connecticut’s exchange marketplace, AccessHealth CT.
I previously wrote about my experience signing up for coverage in Connecticut. This weekend I took the time to look into my options for 2015.
Saturday evening I logged on to AccessHealth CT and after resetting my password, I was on the main home page. When I clicked on the “Get Health Coverage” tab, I was brought to the “Account Home,” which had a few announcements about help with Open Enrollment and Medicaid. It also showed information about my current plan, but no clear way to review options and re-enroll for 2015.
After some clicking around, I selected “Report a Change in Income or Household” and reviewed all of my information before I was able to see my new options for the year. It was not outlined how to do this and would have been much more helpful if there was a clear option on the landing page like “See Your Choices and Re-enroll.”
After making sure that all of my financial and other information was correct, and being told about the Advanced Premium Tax Credit for 2015, I was on the page to see the options for coverage. It was sorted by monthly premium, though, you can also sort by quality ratings, deductibles, and maximum out of pocket costs.
On the top of the page was the information for the plan that I had been automatically re-enrolled in, the closest plan that Anthem had to my 2014 plan. There were also external links to the health insurance sites to check if my doctor was in-network. After shopping around using the site’s tool to compare three plans side-by-side, I was able to narrow down my choices to fit my needs.
After looking in detail at the choices, I was able to find a plan that actually lowered my monthly premium slightly, while also lowering my annual deductible and offering me more options for care.
A new feature you should also be aware of is “Tina,” the exchange’s avatar guide to the process. Tina sits in the bottom right corner of the screen, asking “How Can I Help?” When you click on her, a list of options appear based on the screen you’re on, so she can explain what certain income and other questions mean, or what documentation may be needed for an application.
She was very helpful in explaining certain terms and concepts, such as the differences between plans, and what deductibles and out of pocket costs are. Tina was unobtrusive when I didn’t need her, but often answered questions or uncertainties I had, without me having to go to a different page of the site or looking for answers online myself.
According to AccessHealth CT, I should receive a bill for my first month’s premium sometime this week, and after I pay that, will receive my new insurance card and information for coverage starting January 1.
Today is the last day to sign up for coverage starting in January, so check out your options now.