The Department of Labor released a final ruling regulating association health plans (AHPs) as part of the Trump Administration strategy to revise regulations governing AHP's, short term medical insurance, and health reimbursement accounts to promote healthcare competition of choice.
An association is able to form a specific group for the purpose of offering health insurance. Association can include realtors, trade contractors, or self employed individuals.
There are few things to consider when choosing an association health plan, one being essential health benefits, availability of medical doctors and facilities accepting the health insurance.
The essential health benefit include hospitalization care, maternity care, mental and substance use and prescription drugs. These benefits are included automatically under qualified health insurance plans.
Cost Sharing Limits for 2019
Cost sharing includes a consumers expected out of pocket medical expenses for the health plan year. The new cost sharing limits are increasing to $7,900 for single individuals and $15,800 for families. In 2018 the cost sharing limits for individuals is $7,350 and $14,700 for families. This is an increase of approximately 10% in additional medical expenses.
Why the change according to The Balance healthcare costs consistently is increasing. The cost of hospitalization, doctor office charges, medical procedures are increasing approximately 5% each year.
What can consumer do about the rising costs? Consumers has many options available to them to help reduce or control medical expenses. Examples include minimizing unnecessary trips to emergency rooms or urgent care facilities. Instead obtain medical care for your primary care doctor. Many health insurance plans offer tele-health services and 24/7 nurse hotline. Tele-health medical services greatly reduces unnecessary trips to the urgent care or emergency rooms.
Lastly, it is important to speak with your local independent insurance broker every year to review all of the health plans available.