Utah Health Insurance: Is It Really More Affordable Than Ever?


Posted by: Altura Benefits in Insurance

Utah Health Insurance

The year is drawing to an end, and that means it’s time to secure health insurance for yourself and your family. Due to recent changes and new subsidies, your Utah health insurance may be more affordable than ever. If you haven’t compared your personal health insurance options recently, this year’s open enrollment is a great opportunity to make sure you’re getting the best health insurance coverage. The rest of the year will fly by, so don’t delay.

Buying Individual Utah Health Insurance Plans

Many people get their health insurance through a job. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau says that 55.4% of people had employer-sponsored coverage in 2019. That’s the majority of Americans, but it still leaves a lot of people without job-based coverage. Some of these people get health insurance through a program like Medicare or Medicaid, but other people don’t qualify for these public health plans. They have to get personal insurance coverage on their own – or else go without. In 2019, 26.1 million people, or 8% of the population, did not have health insurance coverage.

Some people risk going without health insurance because they don’t think they can afford coverage. The health coverage offered by private insurance companies can be expensive. The three main costs are the premium, the copay and the deductible:

  • The premium is the cost to buy coverage. This is often a set amount that’s paid every month.
  • The copay is the fee that you have to pay out of pocket every time you use a service or fill a prescription. Different services and prescriptions may have different copays. When this cost is a percentage instead of a set fee, it may be called coinsurance instead.
  • The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before coverage kicks in. Some services, such as certain types of preventative care, may be covered before the deducible has been met, but many services won’t be covered until you pay the deductible.

These costs may make insurance sound unaffordable, but there’s good news. Even if you don’t have employer-sponsored coverage and you don’t qualify for a program like Medicare or Medicaid, you may qualify for help with these costs. Even better, the amount of help available for Utah residents has recently increased.

Recent Legislative Changes and Subsidies

Several bills have been passed in response to the pandemic and the associated economic fallout. One of these bills is the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and it includes provisions that directly impact health insurance costs.

Under one change, some people were eligible for premium-free COBRA continuation coverage. The DOL says that after losing employer-based coverage, eligible employees and their families could qualify subsidies that cover 100% of the COBRA continuation coverage premium cost. However, this subsidy program ended in September 2021. This means you can’t qualify for COBRA subsidies now – but you might still qualify for other types of help. That’s because the American Rescue Plan Act also includes a provision that affects plans purchased on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Buying Coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace

The Affordable Care Act created the Health Insurance Marketplace, a website where eligible Americans can purchase coverage for themselves and their families. Many people also qualify for tax credits and cost-sharing reductions based on their income, and these subsidies can make health insurance more affordable. Some states use the federal Marketplace, while other states have established their own Marketplaces.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, these subsidies were expanded. According to HealthCare.gov, more people than ever before now qualify for help paying with coverage. Even if you weren’t eligible in the past, you may be eligible for tax credits now. Also, the amount of help that you can receive may have increased. This means it’s a good time to take another look at your health insurance options. You might find that your premiums are significantly lower than ever before. You may also find that you can now afford a plan that was out of your price range before, allowing you to upgrade your coverage.

Are you eligible for tax credits? Check your eligibility.

When Can You Enroll Using the Health Insurance Marketplace?

This year’s open enrollment will be a little longer than usual.

The open enrollment period for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace started on November 1, 2021, and it will end on January 15, 2022. Watch out, though – there’s a catch. If you want your coverage to start on January 1, 2021, you need to enroll or change you plan by December 15, 2021. Otherwise, your coverage won’t start until February 1, 2021. You’ll also need to make your first premium payment before coverage starts.

States with their own Health Insurance Marketplaces might have different deadlines, so you need to check with your state’s program for details. Utah uses the federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you don’t have coverage and you miss the January 15 deadline, you might have to wait until next year to enroll. However, you may qualify for a special enrollment period based on a life event, for example, if you lose coverage because you lost your job.

If you currently have coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you may be automatically re-enrolled – but then you might miss out on a plan that’s even better for you. Take advantage of the open enrollment period to make sure you have the best Utah health insurance you can get.

Other Utah Health Insurance Plans from Health Insurance Companies

The Health Insurance Marketplace has many great Utah health insurance options. However, if these plans don’t meet your needs, you may be able to get coverage outside of the Marketplace.

Several health insurance carriers offer individual health insurance plans in Utah. The options available from these insurance companies include traditional health insurance plans with essential health benefits and prescription drug coverage, as well as short-term health insurance plans that offer less comprehensive coverage but have year-round application availability.

Don’t Miss This Opportunity to Get Affordable Coverage

The open enrollment period is your chance to enroll in coverage or switch plans. If you need help comparing your Utah health insurance plans, Altura Benefits can help. Get a quote today.