The Norman Transcript

Features

September 10, 2013

Health exchange shopping tips for uninsured boomers

(Continued)

NORMAN —

The differences between federal and state programs will be subtle. You can access your state’s marketplace at Healthcare.gov.

Policy choices: To make shopping and comparing a little easier, the health plans will be divided into four different levels — bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The bronze plan will have the lowest monthly premiums but the highest out-of-pocket costs when you need care, while the platinum plans will have the highest premiums with the lowest out-of-pocket costs.

You also will have a variety of health insurance companies to select from. To help you evaluate insurers, the nonprofit National Committee for Quality Assurance offers online “report cards” at ncqa.org that can help you narrow your choices.

Because most plans will be managed-care policies such as HMOs or PPOs that require you to get your care within a network of providers, you’ll want to make sure that the doctors and hospitals you typically use are covered in the plans you’re considering.

The new Marketplace plans are expected to offer fewer choices of health care providers, and who’s included may vary quite a bit.

You also need to find out what happens if you want to use a doctor or hospital outside a plan’s network. Will you have to get a referral or pay more to get these services, or will it even be covered at all?

Also check the plan’s formulary, which is the list of prescription drugs they cover, to be sure all the medications you take are covered without excessive copays or requirements that you try less expensive drugs first.

 

Get help: If you need some help with all this, the Marketplace Help Center offers a toll-free helpline at 800-318-2596. Or, if you’d rather get face-to-face assistance, there will be designated centers set up with trained and certified navigators, counselors and application assistors to help you, along with insurance agents and brokers. To find help in your area, call the Marketplace Help Center after Oct. 1 for a referral.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Historic quilt from Noble on auction block

    An alert quilter and teacher is concerned about a vintage quilt from Noble that’s being auctioned on eBay....

    July 20, 2014

  • Bark for Life brings pets into fundraising

    Local American Cancer Society member and Norman Regional nurse is at it again, raising awareness for cancer patients with an event that gets people moving. “Bark for Life” is a noncompetitive walk that will be from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Deadline for entering United Way’s The Ride extended

    Kids ages 3 to 8 are getting ready to roll on their decked out big wheel tricycles in an effort to raise money for the United Way of Norman. The Ride, a big wheel race organized by First American Bank and other local businesses, is ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will host a flapjack fundraiser July 26 at Applebee’s, 500 Ed Noble Parkway in Norman....

    July 20, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new....

    July 20, 2014