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New in 2022: A Look at Changes in Individual/Family Health Insurance Plans

Oct 15, 2021

Fall is a time for back to school, state fairs, “leaf-peepers,” and thinking about your healthcare insurance. Open Enrollment season, as we call it in the business, begins November 1 and lasts through January 15, 2022. This season brings some positive changes in health insurance including changes in Health Options’ plans.

First, all health insurance carriers in the individual/family marketplace will offer Clear Choice plans to bring more transparency to the buying process. These plans are designed to make it easier for Maine people to compare options across health insurance carriers. Clear Choice plans have a standard cost-sharing design, meaning they have the same deductible, co-pays, and co-insurance for medical services across all health insurance carriers in the state. All Health Options’ Clear Choice plans are designated with “CC” in the plan name.  It is important to note there may be some differences between carriers in clear choice plans, so you will want to look beyond the cost-sharing. For example, Health Options offers a chronic illness support plan to reduce the cost of care for Members with asthma, coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and hypertension in many clear choice plans, and other carriers do not have this exact benefit. 

Also, for 2022, Health Options is pleased to add a tiered provider network to some of our individual/family HMO plans. In our tiered plans, primary care providers, imaging, labs, and out-patient hospital services are categorized by a preferred or standard tier.  The preferred tier offers high quality, lower cost-share providers and service options. Plan Members are easily directed to preferred tier providers and locations when completing a provider search. Tiered plan Members can continue receiving services from a standard tier provider with a standard co-pay. 

In another change to our provider network selections, we offer several plans that include national in-network coverage through First Health®. These plans are ideal for individuals and families who spend time outside the New England region and need reliable coverage both at home and on the road. Other plan enhancements include $0 cost for urgent care telehealth on non-HSA plans through our partnership with Amwell®. Health Options will also be offering Maine’s only Platinum health plan in the individual/family marketplace, which has the lowest deductible and cost-share across plans and offers co-pays with no deductible for in-network primary care, specialists, behavioral health visits, and urgent care facilities.

Finally, there are some legislative changes affecting health insurance in Maine. If you’ve used Healthcare.gov to learn about tax credits and other cost reductions, you will now be using CoverME.gov, Maine’s new online Health Insurance Marketplace. CoverME.gov is operated by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. With the American Rescue Plan enacted earlier this year by the Biden Administration, more Mainers than ever are now eligible for advance premium tax credits (APTC) to help pay for coverage. Be sure to visit our storefront (healthoptions.org) to check your eligibility for tax credits and go to CoverME.gov after November 1, 2021, to January 15, 2022, to apply for the APTC and/or for cost-sharing reduction credits.

While these changes are all good news, we know how hard it can be to navigate health insurance decisions. As always, we are here for you. Our Member Services team can address any questions you have regarding your 2022 healthcare coverage. If you need help selecting a plan, go to healthoptions.org or call Member Services at (855) 624-6463, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  You can also reach out to your trusted broker.

SEE ALSO

Phoning it in

How telephone and video conferencing are revolutionizing healthcare

Last year was a tough one – for everyone. Between physical distancing restrictions, the increase in demand for behavioral health professionals, and decreasing staff sizes among providers – the healthcare industry was particularly hard hit. On the bright side, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted just how important telehealth is in bridging the gap between patients and providers, as well as expanding capacity and access to healthcare.

 

Good to Know

While telehealth became more prominent and important during the pandemic, it’s been around almost as long as the telephone. In fact, NASA has been using satellite connections for decades as a way to monitor astronauts’ health in space.

Other forms of telehealth are already making life easier for millions, whether through electronic diabetes monitoring or the text reminders we get when it’s time to renew a prescription. That’s called telepharmacology, if you want to be technical.

 

Need to Know

Telehealth (also called telemedicine) allows people to meet with healthcare providers by telephone or through a secure Internet connection using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is.

Pandemic or not, telehealth can save you time and sometimes even money, as well.  As of July 1, our plans include quick, convenient access to telehealth urgent care with $0 cost to Members through 2021. Click here for more information. On those occasions when you’re sick or injured and don’t want to get in the car, you have a new option. You can also use the Health Options telehealth platform to find hard-to-book providers in our area, like mental and behavioral health specialists.

 

More to Know:

To learn more about our telehealth platform, log on to your Health Options Member portal; click on the Health & Wellness tab, and choose "Get Started" to access the sign-up page. Here, you can register for your personal account, and your information will be saved for future visits.  

Once upon a time, country doctors made house calls to keep sick people from traveling and getting even sicker. Telehealth is essentially a modern-day house call. You get the care you need without leaving the comfort of home.