How to Minimize Your 2017 Covered California Rate Increase

By Esmeralda Mercado

shutterstock_407333785If you’re currently enrolled on a private health plan, your rates are likely to increase by a lot. In California, the weighted average increase is 13.2%. Because this is a transitional due to factors affecting rates, everyone is encouraged to weight their options and go shopping. Most consumers will only see a rate increase of no more than 5% if they switch plans.

What can I do?

If you’re not already enrolled, you can get quotes and sign up during the 2017 Covered California open enrollment, November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. If you’re currently enrolled on a health plan, you will be able to renew your current plan or shop for a new one in October or November. Watch for a renewal packet that will provide your 2017 rates, and allow you to make changes at that time.

Things You Can Do Now

  • Call the Doctor. If you have a doctor that you prefer to stay with, ask him or her what health plans they will be accepting in 2017. Make a note of the plans your doctor takes so you can get rates for those particular plans.
  • Access Covered California. If you’re currently enrolled through Covered California, be sure you can access your account online. If you don’t already have access, call Covered California at 1- 800-300-1506 for assistance.

IMPORTANT: Don’t fill out another application; you can easily make changes on your existing coverage between October and November.

  • Estimate Income. Whether you’re enrolling for the first time in November or renewing your existing plan, make sure the income you show on your Covered California records is up-to-date. You’ll need to specify an estimated annual income for 2017. This important piece of information affects how much of a subsidy you may qualify for.

Things To Consider

Between October and November, consumers enrolled on a private plan will receive renewal packets that will specify their new premium. Here are some changes you can make to minimize the rate increase.

  • Switch to an EPO or HMO. A PPO plan is the most expensive type. Typically, an HMO is the least expensive, and its likely you’ll need to change doctors, but it could make the insurance affordable.
  • Downgrade Plans. If you’re on a health plan that has no deductible (Gold or Platinum), you might consider downgrading to a plan with a deductible (Silver or Bronze).

Need help?

For a breakdown of the rate increases by carrier and county view the 2017 Covered California Rate booklet. If you need help deciphering the best solution for your insurance needs, contact Health For California Insurance Center at 1-877-752-4737.