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Help is available for finding the best health insurance plan

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
Affordable Care Act, healthcare costs, pre-existing conditions, GoHealth

Ever since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, health insurance has been a hot button topic. Despite all the rhetoric, many Americans lack knowledge about health insurance and are in need of help in making the right decisions. I spoke today with Michael Mahoney, Vice President of Consumer Marketing for GoHealth, a company which optimizes the process for an individual to obtain a good deal on the most appropriate plan to meet their needs.

Mahoney notes that even if you are young, healthy, and broke, beginning in 2014, you will be required to buy thousands of dollars worth of medical insurance or pay a penalty. Many 20-somethings are wondering how they can afford it on top of their student loans and a horrible job market. He notes that Americans in this age group are the least likely to be insured: almost three of 10 adults who are under 35 are not covered. Furthermore, they visit emergency rooms more than any other group except seniors.

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Young, single adults are willing to sign up for purchasing plans to buy a TV or cell phone; however, they are unwilling to obtain a health insurance plan, which adds to their financial burden but does not supply the immediate gratification that a new techno-toy provides. Young, married Americans, particularly those with a child or two are much more likely to purchase insurance.

Mahoney notes that the new healthcare law is designed to provide incentives to ease the financial burden and provides many potential benefits including cheap Medicaid, private insurance, fewer out-of-pocket expenses, and free preventive healthcare such as HIV testing, screening for depression or alcoholism, flu shots, hepatitis vaccine, contraception and pregnancy care. The new law also provides insurance to anyone with a pre-existing condition. Many of these individuals cannot obtain health insurance at any cost unless they are employed by a large company that provides coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Some health conditions accrue annual costs well in excess of $100,000. Another group of young adults that will benefit from the new law are those between the ages of 19 and 26; they can remain on their parents plan for those years.

It is well known that the new law is subject to heated debate. The major objection by opponents of the Affordable Care Act is added costs. Mahoney admits that if the law prevails, the overall cost of healthcare will increase with the costs being passed on to consumers in the form of taxation. Whether the law stands, is significantly modified, or repealed depends largely on this fall’s presidential election. However, Mahoney notes that his company can provide solid health insurance advice regardless of the survival of the Affordable Care Act. It will access healthcare needs on an individual basis. For example, it can help individuals with situations such as changing employment and losing coverage or whether a lower cost policy with a higher deductible is the better choice. He notes that the advice is totally without cost. It generates income only when an individual signs up with an insurer that best fits their needs.

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