Just Moved? Here's How to Buy New Health Insurance
Did you know that moving qualifies you to buy health insurance during Special Enrollment? Even if you already have a health plan, you may have limited care options now that you’re in a new state. Switching plans or buying insurance for the first time is a great way to afford medical costs, avoid big bills, and skip out on the government’s annual penalty for going uninsured (at least $325 or 2% of your household income).
5 Steps To Find The Perfect Health Plan:
Tip 1: Learn the basics.
Don’t know how health insurance works? Not sure what “deductible” means? Check out this quick guide. In just a few minutes, you’ll be an expert on basic health insurance features, how doctor networks function, and more.
Tip 2: You have 60 days to purchase.
Moving is a “qualifying event,” which means you have 60 days after your move to purchase or switch insurance. If you do sign up for a new plan, make sure you have a proof of residency (like utility bills from your new & former address) or an apartment lease. Many insurers require Qualifying Event Documentationto prove you really moved!
Pro tip: Finding the right documentation when moving can be tricky; maybe you were / are subletting and don’t have a lease or bill in your name. If that’s the case, reach out to our team...we’ll help you prepare an affidavit that’s generally accepted by insurance companies.
Tip 3: Find a good doctor network.
Different plans provide different access to doctors (learn more about networks here). Now that you’re in a new area, you’ll want to make you sure you can see doctors you’ll like! Ask around for Primary Care Physician recommendations, or try a site like Zocdoc to get Yelp-like doctor ratings. Then, make sure one or two great doctors are included in your plan’s network. Stride can help you pick a plan that covers the doctors you want.
Tip 4: Cheapest isn’t always better.
While health plans with low monthly payments may look like they save you more, they can leave you with big medical bills if you have a lot of health costs. If you anticipate many prescriptions and doctor visits in the next year, consider a plan with more expensive monthly payments (like a Gold tier plan). It can save you more by keeping the costs of doctor visits, medications, and treatments lower while offering more expansive access to different doctors and specialists.
Pro tip: Not a numbers person? Just search for a plan on our site and let us do the tricky calculus. You can also reach out to our licensed health insurance agents for personal advice!
Tip 5: Find ways to save.
Not sure how to afford health insurance? Here are a few resources:
- Government subsidies: Many middle to low-income adults qualify for government discounted plans. In fact, Stride members who qualify typically save $304 month. If you’d like to calculate your government subsidy, search for a health plan on Stride and make sure to answer “yes” to this question: The government might pay for some of your health insurance. Do you want to see if you qualify?
- Catastrophic Plans: Don’t let the name scare you! Catastrophic plans are plans with low monthly payments and very high deductibles (the amount you pay before insurance covers the bill). These are a good fit if you’re young, healthy, and rarely get sick. If you are under 30, you qualify to buy one.
- HSA's: Considering a plan with a high deductible? Get one that's paired with an Health Savings Account! These accounts let you set aside pre-tax money to spend on your health expenses. Read this post to learn more about how HSA's help you save.