The December 15th deadline has passed for January 1st coverage. But you still have until the end of January to enroll for coverage from the Affordable Care Act.
We’ve written numerous times here how you can sign up for the Affordable Care Act and what things you should consider when you’re signing up for health insurance. But one simple detail continues to confuse new users of Covered California: what’s the difference between the CoveredCA website and individual insurance companies’ websites?
It’s a fair question because there’s still confusion between the difference of Healthcare.gov and CoveredCA.com. Add in the websites of Blue Shield where you can sign up directly on the website, it’s hard to know where you should start to sign up for health insurance.
Healthcare.gov vs. CoveredCA
Before we get into buying your health insurance from a specific insurance company and CoveredCA, let’s take a quick step back. You might be wondering why you shouldn’t use Healthcare.gov.
Healthcare.gov is indeed where you should go to buy health insurance from the Affordable Care Act. However, many states have their own health insurance exchanges. States like California do (CoveredCA) so that’s where California residents should go to sign up for health insurance. Other states like Wisconsin and Texas do not have their own state-based exchange. Therefore those residents should sign up for healthcare through Healthcare.gov.
Why You Should Sign Up for Health Insurance Through Covered California
The biggest reason why someone should sign up for health insurance through Covered California is that they can weigh all their health insurance options. You can see what one insurance company offers compared to another. If you’re just hunting for the best price, this is your best bet. But some people already have a health insurance company they want to sign up with. Then why would they use the Covered California website?
For example, we profiled Oscar, a new insurance company for healthcare. They’re a great new tech startup with useful web and mobile tools, flexible plans, and reasonable premiums. You can sign up on their website in minutes. So why would you navigate away from their website and onto Covered California?
Individual health insurance carriers aren’t going to subsidize your health insurance. Whatever they quote you for your plan, that’s what you should expect to pay. But the Affordable Care Act offers subsidies to individuals who qualify. If you think you might qualify, it’s in your best interest to sign up through the Covered California website.
As you go through the signup process and discover that you’re eligible for subsidies, that now means you can get the same healthcare plan you were already going to sign up for, just a little cheaper.
Health insurance can make your head spin. There are so many options of carriers and options of plans within those carriers. Every site has a button to sign up for health insurance. If it’s something you haven’t done before, you might be confused as to where you should actually sign up for health insurance. If you’re still a little confused, visit the Covered California website and find a local agent who can help you walk through the process.