Navigating Missouri’s health insurance market for the upcoming year

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Officials with the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance recommend that individuals shop around when looking for health insurance coverage on the individual market. Most will find a variety of choices for plan year 2024.

The website displays up to five health insurance market carriers in Grundy, Livingston, Caldwell, and Daviess counties; four options in Mercer and Harrison counties; and three choices in Putnam, Sullivan, and Linn counties.

Officials note that the state listing is not binding on any health insurer and may change without notice. Health insurers are currently evaluating the market and making final decisions regarding their 2024 market plans. The information pertains to available plans in the individual market in Missouri, both on and off the exchange.

The Department of Insurance indicates that most of the Green Hills counties, including Grundy, have individual health coverage through Aetna, Ambetter, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City, Medica, and UnitedHealthcare.

Mercer and Harrison counties have access to four of these carriers, with Medica being the exception. The eastern Green Hills counties of Putnam, Sullivan, and Linn have limited options, with carriers Ambetter and Blue Cross Blue Shield Kansas City available.

UnitedHealthcare has expanded coverage to an additional 47 counties. Ambetter has increased its presence by 22 counties compared to last year.

Missourians can find more information about the rate review process and access rate information at this link.

The annual open enrollment for health insurance coverage in the next plan year began on November 1. For coverage to start on January 1, consumers must enroll or change their plan by December 15.

When shopping for health insurance, officials emphasize the importance of considering factors beyond cost. This includes understanding the services covered by the policy, the costs for which you’ll be responsible, and your current and potential future healthcare needs, from anticipated surgeries to prescription drugs.

The Division of Insurance also highlights the importance of checking provider networks to ensure that current providers are included in the plan being considered.

Provider directories are available online, but the department strongly encourages consumers to also contact their healthcare providers directly to confirm their participation in the network for the upcoming year to avoid any issues later.

A health carrier’s provider directory offers a snapshot of the plan’s network at a given time. Speaking directly with healthcare providers ensures that consumers have the most current information regarding a provider’s participation in a particular plan’s network.

The department advises individuals to review and compare the costs associated with each plan, including premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance amounts. It is advisable to seek the advice of a trusted insurance agent or assistant when reviewing policies and coverages.

The Department of Insurance also warns against advertisements or solicitations that promise low-cost or no-cost health coverage. Consumers should ask detailed questions about the policy before purchasing. Some plans may be lower in cost because they do not provide the same level of protection or coverage as comprehensive major medical health insurance plans.

For additional tips on finding a policy that meets your needs, check the Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) Health Insurance Shopping Tool. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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