There are various types of health insurance and different markets. Pennsylvania’s health insurance market can be broken down into Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare, and Commercial fully-insured and self-insured. Depending on the market and type of insurance, there are different ways to obtain coverage, and there are many factors that you need to consider when deciding which path is best for you. The Pennsylvania Insurance Department is here to help with information so you can make the best decision for your situation.
State-run marketplaces / exchanges have more flexibility in terms of when they make new plans available for browsing. For example, Your Health Idaho, the state-run exchange in Idaho, debuted window-shopping for 2018 plans on October 2, 2018, nearly a month before the start of open enrollment, just as they did the year before. And Covered California is starting their open enrollment period (not just window shopping) two weeks early, on October 15. This will be the schedule they use in future years as well.
The new CMS rules, titled in true Trump fashion, “Final 2019 Payment Notice Rule To Increase Access To Affordable Health Plans For Americans Suffering From High Obamacare Premiums,” could potentially save you from paying a tax penalty this year. The new rule provides exemptions to residents living in counties where no health insurance companies offer coverage, or only one insurer offers coverage. The rule also states that those living in counties where the only available health insurance plans cover abortion can also be exempt from a tax penalty for 2018 if it goes against their religious beliefs.
We would be willing to take on a significantly higher deductible in a catastrophic plan. Even $20 – $25k a year deductible in order to keep basic premiums low and pay for most things out of pocket. Depending on the landscape when we retire (whether subsidies still exist), we could COBRA until the end of that year and shop for a low premium plan for the following year. And like the good ole doc, we are beefing up our HSA accounts while we can to fill in gaps if we need to until becoming eligible for Medicare. Hoping to preserve them for later on though.
The states were ranked on health care using three broad benchmarks: Access to care, quality of care and the overall health of the population. This includes concerning measures such as the percentage of adults without health insurance and the percentage who haven’t had a routine checkup in the past year – including those who went without medical attention because of the cost. It includes positive measures such as the percentage of children receiving medical and dental care under Medicaid. It includes measures of preventable hospital admissions, readmissions within 30 days of discharge, nursing home quality ratings and numbers of seniors covered under high-quality Medicare Advantage plans. It involves general measures that correspond with good physical and mental health – rates of smoking, obesity and suicide, along with self-reported mental health. And it takes into account infant and overall mortality rates.

Australian health funds can be either 'for profit' including Bupa and nib; 'mutual' including Australian Unity; or 'non-profit' including GMHBA, HCF and the HBF Health Fund (HBF). Some, such as Police Health, have membership restricted to particular groups, but the majority have open membership. Membership to most health funds is now also available through comparison websites like moneytime, Compare the Market, iSelect Ltd., Choosi, ComparingExpert and YouCompare. These comparison sites operate on a commission-basis by agreement with their participating health funds. The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman also operates a free website which allows consumers to search for and compare private health insurers' products, which includes information on price and level of cover.[9]

One last piece about short-term plans: you can now keep a short-term plan for a year and renew them twice. In effect, that means short-term plans can now last three years. These extensions from previous regulations gives short-term plans a more even playing with regular health insurance. However, beware of short-term plan limitations before deciding on one of those plans. 
So why are we hearing that average rates are decreasing? It turns out that average benchmark premiums (as opposed to overall average premiums) in states that use HealthCare.gov are decreasing slightly for 2019. The benchmark plan is defined as the second-lowest-cost silver plan in each area (it's also a term used to describe the basic set of benefits that must be covered in each area, but that's not the definition we're talking about here).
 There are other HCSM plans out there. We personally used a different popular “liberty-based” HCSM for 3 years but had a horrible time getting claims paid when we needed it in the 3rd year. Therefore, based on our own experience, we do not recommend the other ‘liberty-based’ HCSM plan. However, we understand our experience may be anecdotal and others may be happy with an alternative.

My family currently has a HDHP, which is nearly identical to the catastrophic coverage I had in college. It allows us to invest in an HSA, and actually ends up being less expensive than having “comprehensive” coverage. As far as what will happen in the future, that’s anyone’s guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of us can’t collect social security, till our 80’s, and barring a change to a single-payer system, Medicare could conceivably push eligibility out further.


The Affordable Care Act has delivered health insurance for millions who were unable to find affordable coverage on the individual market in the past. And, while we strongly encourage our readers to take advantage of the comprehensive ACA-compliant coverage, we do recognize that there is a segment of the individual market population that is facing daunting rate increases. We realize that their coverage options may be limited.
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