We already have health insurance through an employer, can we still shop around?

Asked August 26, 2013, 11:09 AM EDT

We have an insurance plan for our family through my husband's employer. However being a type 1 diabetic I have a very high medical cost every year and would prefer to have a better covered insurance plan. Will we have the opportunity to shop around for better coverage or is it going to be way more expensive to do it that way rather than use my husband's employee plan? What will be the best way to compare our current coverage to other options?

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2 Responses

I would check with the Human Resources or Benefits office where your husband is employed to confirm if the coverage you currently have is going to be the same in 2014.
If you go to http://healthcare.gov/ you can open an exploratory account. It will ask for specific information and will have a form to download and complete with key features of your 2014 employer provided coverage. Entering the requested information correctly will result in accurate results concerning credits and coverage options.
Beginning October 1st you will be able to compare employer provided coverage to the plans available for your region. If the individual policy costs for your husbands coverage is affordable, your family will not be eligible for credits to reduce costs for the plans listed in the marketplace. If a plan does appear to offer better coverage at the same price or a lower premium, be sure to go to their website to confirm that the Doctors and health centers you use are included in their "in-network". Don't cancel coverage if you find a better plan. Apply and receive confirmation before cancelling coverage for a seamless transition. Cancelation of employer provided coverage will mean the loss of their premium contributions in most cases.

If this seems too difficult, there will be Navigators available beginning October 1st to help you sort through the details. Watch for anouncements in your local area and take advantage of their services. The first enrollment period will last until the end of March to allow for greater numbers of individuals investigating their options.

It's always a good idea to do comparison shopping for insurance and the Marketplace will make it easier to determine if your current coverage is still the best choice. I encourage you to take advantage of the yearly enrollment period to take a free look at other options and see if you can save health care costs.

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