How to Pick a Health Insurance Plan
Picking a health insurance plan requires a lot of planning and thought, whether you’re choosing a plan through your employer, paying for the plan entirely on your own, or seeking help through the federal Marketplace. The information on this web page focuses on qualifying for financial help through the federal Marketplace
Learn everything you need to know about selecting the right plan.
There are a lot of things that must be considered when trying to pick a health insurance plan. The plan that looks the least expensive at first glance might end up costing the most. It’s important that you get all the facts first: how to pick the best plan for you and you family.
Gather your family’s information
If you’re applying through the Marketplace, you’ll want to have all of the information listed below:
- Home and/or mailing addresses for everyone applying for coverage.
- Social Security Numbers for everyone applying for coverage.
- Employer and income information for every member of your household (for example, from pay stubs or W-2 forms—Wage and Tax Statements).
- Your best estimate of what your household income will be in 2015.
- Policy numbers and Plan ID numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of your household.
- A completed “Employer Coverage Tool” for every job-based plan you or someone in your household is eligible for. (You’ll need to fill out this form even for coverage you’re eligible for but don’t enroll in.)
With that information in hand, you are now ready to shop!
- Go on-line to the Health Insurance Marketplace to check it out yourself.
- Call 1-800-318-2596 for more information about the Health Insurance Marketplace.
- Get one-on-one help from a specially trained Navigator or Certified Application Counselor (CAC). Navigators and CACs can walk you through your choices, explain the options and help you apply for health insurance on the Marketplace. Make an appointment with a Navigator or CAC near you.
Several websites can help you learn more about buying health insurance on the Marketplace:
- Healthcare.gov – this site helps you apply for health insurance in the Marketplace.
- EnrollVirginia – here, you can find one-on-one help to learn about, apply for and choose the best health insurance plan for you and your family. They can also help you re-apply if you purchased insurance on the Marketplace last year.
- FamiliesUSA – here, you can learn more about how to apply for health insurance, get financial help to pay for it and choose a health plan. This site also includes information about keeping and using your health insurance.
- Consumer Reports – discover important questions to ask when picking a health insurance plan for your family.
- Cover Virginia – this is the best site for information out about Virginia’s Medicaid and FAMIS programs for children, pregnant women and adults (and apply on-line). You can also get information about health insurance options available through the Federal Marketplace.
Other Health Insurance Resources
The following websites have more information about health insurance.
- Newly Unemployed? COBRA – Continuation Coverage Assistance under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allows people to continue health insurance with their employer if they are involuntarily terminated. More information is available through the U.S. Department of Labor. Note: Losing employer-based coverage is a “qualifying event,” so you may be able to purchase health insurance on the Marketplace during a Special Enrollment Period.
- Insurance Counseling- Individual insurance counseling assistance is available for adults ages 65 and older through the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP). VICAP counselors at your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) can help you resolve Medicaid or Medicare claims or billing problems. They can also help you file for benefits and better understand your health insurance statements and notices. Trained VICAP counselors in communities across Virginia provide free, confidential assistance to people in their area.