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What health reform means for the people of Illinois

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

An Illinois Navigator's Experience Finding Lower Premiums in the Marketplace

I decided I might as well enroll myself with a Qualified Health Plan on the Marketplace before I sat down as an In Person Counselor (with a client) so I tried for a few days right after Oct. 1.

Since the site was so slow, I decided to wait until some of the excitement wore off and tried again in mid-October. I sat down after dinner and put in an hour on the computer. I quickly verified my identity, similar to the online process for requesting your free credit report. I answered simple questions about what streets I have lived on, former cities I lived in, etc. They were all multiple choice questions, and I got them all right!

Then I was able to compare the plans for my county and sort them based on certain features: metal, HSA eligible, out-of-pocket costs, etc. At that point there are fewer plans to choose from and I checked off the "compare box" on three that I thought seemed to be a good fit. After looking at the plans, side by side I was able to click on a link with each that took me to the website for each plan so I could do a provider search. I entered my current doctor and to see if my doctor was in-network. This made it pretty easy for me to decide. The pages did load slowly so I folded laundry while they loaded.

Once I enrolled in health coverage, I had to decide to elect or not to elect to access dental. I went through the same process with the dental coverage, but did find that the links did not work for all the dental plans. I eventually decided on a plan and enrolled. Then I put the laundry away while it loaded and waited.

At the end, I got the page where it said my application was complete. I printed out the page along with my application ID# and am excited to let people know that my premiums are going down!

I self-pay for insurance now and will still do so in 2014. I currently pay just over $340 a month for health and dental. Starting in January, I will only pay $185.10 for health and dental. I make too much money for any tax subsidy, so even without assistance I am seeing a huge benefit. I still get to see the same doctor and dentist that I have had since I was a kid and really cannot complain too much. Buying insurance before privately took more time as I would have to research and deal with the insurance brokers and then the underwriters questioning of any of my possible health issues.

I look forward to helping my clients find affordable options on the Marketplace, too.

Joann Boblick
Certified In Person Counselor
La Grange, IL

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