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Many consumers can save money by swapping health plans

Dan Gorenstein Nov 18, 2015
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When it comes to buying health insurance, most of us would probably rather go to the dentist. But since the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans at least have the option to shop around every year.

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found for consumers on the federal exchange, healthcare.gov is another reminder that they do need to comparison shop. We know last year, most shoppers on the exchanges sought out plans with low monthly premiums.

But the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt warned the low-cost plan this year is probably not the low cost plan in 2016. 

“In 73 percent of counties, if they do nothing, they will find themselves no longer in the low cost plan,” he said.

Under Obamacare, most people are automatically re-enrolled in their plan if they don’t shop. The report shows annual savings vary from a few dollars in several Michigan counties to more than $1,500 in communities near Indianapolis.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Kathy Hempstead said the good news is folks on the exchanges have reported to her in a survey they’re willing to do what many of us detest.

“I think these consumers totally get that they should shop and they intend to shop,” she said.

Hempstead pointed out that consumers chasing lower premium carries its own risks though. Sure, you could save $500 bucks, but you probably have to switch doctors, hospitals, maybe even medications. The question is whether that’s a good deal.