Don Truong, director of sales at Sharp Health Plan, shares three tips for San Diegans who may find themselves shopping for a new health insurance plan.
Use the special enrollment expansion
To assist people who are in need of health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, Covered California® has expanded the special enrollment period through June 30, 2020.
"In addition to the benefit plans that are offered through Covered California's marketplace, this special enrollment expansion also applies to individual and family plans that are sold directly through health insurance companies such as Sharp Health Plan," explains Truong.
The special enrollment expansion allows people to shop for a new plan outside of the usual open enrollment time period.
See if you qualify for financial help through Covered California
If you have a change in income, you may qualify for premium assistance through Covered California. Their new state subsidy program has expanded the amount of financial help available to many consumers.
Californians with an income of up to 600% of the federal poverty level (FPL) — the equivalent of an individual earning up to $74,940 a year or a family of four earning up to $154,500 a year — are eligible to receive financial assistance. This means nearly 1 million Californians are newly eligible for financial help this year. The amount will depend on your household size and FPL. Check with Covered California to see what you may qualify for.
"Even if you didn't qualify for financial help in the past, it's a good idea to check again," says Truong. "If you're already receiving premium assistance, check with Covered California to see if you may be eligible for more."
Consult with free enrollment resources
"If you have trouble understanding how health insurance works, there are lots of community resources with experts whose job is to help you," advises Truong. "Health insurance can be confusing, but it doesn't have to be. We want to make sure people know that help is available."
To make finding a new plan as stress-free as possible, Sharp Health Plan is offering free one-on-one help over the phone for people enrolling in benefits directly or through Covered California.
"Our certified enrollment specialists can guide you through the enrollment process. Give us a call at 858-499-8211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started," says Truong. "We're also working on creating virtual enrollment classes online. Once finalized, the dates will be posted on our website," adds Truong.
You can start your application by requesting a quote from Sharp Health Plan.