SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Thousands of people in Southwest Missouri will have to change their health insurance coverage next year. Fewer individual options will be available through the Marketplace and Cox HealthPlans.
The biggest impact in Southwest Missouri will be due to Cox HealthPlans no longer be offering individual coverage in 2019. Their plans meet the federal criteria but are separate from the ACA Marketplace. For those who don't qualify for tax credits through the Marketplace, Cox HealthPlans was the most affordable option and was accepted anywhere in the country.
An Anthem spokesperson says the changes do not impact Medicare insurance plans – such as consumers enrolled in Anthem Medicare plans.
Trevor Croley, with Croley Insurance, says thousands of people are going to be impacted and will have to consider other options.
"Can you go on a spouse's health plan? If you have V.A. benefits. If you are eligible for Medicaid," he said.
Or the Marketplace may be an option. But the number of carriers and plans will be limited. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is also pulling its individual coverage from Southwest Missouri.
Croley says everyone with an individual plan should expect a rate increase of 15 to 20 percent.
"Packed that on to 36 percent last year. It already hurts now, it's really going to hurt coming forward," Croley said.
The good news is, he says, AmBetter is accepted at both Cox and Mercy systems. Anthem, is too.
The penalty for not having health insurance has been thrown out for 2019. But Croley says it's still worth it.
"It's like anything else, this is a bill. This is not a tangible thing, it's an intangible, but the consequences to not having something like this is you are probably going to have to pay a hospital the rest of your life," Croley said.
If you have coverage through Cox HealthPlans, employees at Cox will still help people sign up for coverage through the Marketplace. That office is inside Cox North Hospital. For more information, call 427-269-2945.
For anyone else, you are encouraged to go to healthcare.gov to check out your options for 2019.
Cox Health says these changes do not affect employer health plans or pre-Affordable Care Act individual plans purchased through Cox HealthPlans.
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