In the closing days of the final open enrollment deadline to sign up for health insurance under ObamaCare, many Texans are turning to online websites to find the best health plan.
January 31 marks the end of the last sign-up period to have health insurance for 2016 and avoid paying an ObamaCare fine. This year, however, those without health insurance will now have to pay a higher penalty under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
“It’s a basic human need,” Austin native Denee Booker said. “There isn’t any person alive that doesn’t need healthcare.”
For years Booker has been without health insurance because her part time work at the Texas Capitol and advocacy groups doesn’t come with benefits.
“It had been almost 10 years since I’d been able to get a well women’s exam,” Booker said. “There were several years where I didn’t have any health care at all. And so the fact that I have the opportunity to participate in the insurance system, I’m really excited.”
Booker said when it comes to shopping for the right plan, she focuses on affordability.
“You know my health needs are pretty basic,” Booker said. “I need to make sure that if I get a cold that I can go to the doctor and get the antibiotics if I need them.”
According to a new study, Texas tops the list as the state with the worst health care accessibility and affordability. The nonprofit group, the Common Wealth Fund, found 26 percent of working-age adults in Texas do not have health insurance.
“It’s an expense that every household has to worry about,” Lehmann Li, CEO and creator of Savue.com said. “You know, certainly you should try to save a dollar whenever you can save a dollar.”
According to Li, saving a dollar doesn’t always mean choosing the plan with the lowest premium.
“Most people just think, ‘Well I’ll just pay the premium—the lowest premium—and then I should be better off,’” Li said. “But they really need to look at the total cost.”
Websites like Savue.com and Healthcare.gov are available for people to shop around for the health plan that best fits their individual needs.
“For many consumers who have or have a family member with a major chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol and spend a lot on prescription drugs and non-prescription health goods,” Li said, “our website can help identify the health insurance plans with lower expected total out-of-pocket costs during the entire year.”