HealthMarkets offers alternative solutions to help keep you protected

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Roni Bell, a licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets Insurance Agency, says tax credits for 2018 have gone up, which means the cost for your coverage may have changed. (Photography by Benjamin Margalit/Margalit Studio)

By Beth Newcomb

It’s crunch time.

If you haven’t prioritized sitting down with someone knowledgeable to talk about your ACA options, your opportunity to do so is about to expire.

“Many people are still unaware that the deadline to enroll in a plan or make a change has been dramatically shortened,” says Roni Bell, a licensed insurance agent with HealthMarkets Insurance Agency.

“You only have until Friday, December 15, to do what needs to be done. If you miss the plan enrollment window, you will be out of luck until next year.”

There have been a number of significant changes to plans that people need to know about, she says. Some are positive—and some are not.

“Some carriers have exited the Ohio market altogether, which means the coverage you had under one carrier may not exist in 2018. Other carriers have increased rates, which may make some people think they can’t afford coverage anymore,” Roni explains.

“Tax credits have gone up, so you may be able to move into a different plan you thought you couldn’t afford.”

Roni mentions that some of the people she’s met with don’t have a solid understanding of how to decipher the true cost of their coverage.

“They don’t understand what their payment obligation is,” she adds. “They got a letter stating their coverage cost was changing, but they aren’t clear on how the tax credit will offset that. Tax credits from 2017 don’t apply. Some people might be paying the same as they did last year, others may be paying less.”

If you choose not to enroll in the ACA, you could be penalized.

“But you could end up paying more for the tax penalty than you would if you had just signed up for coverage,” she states.

The takeaway here is the details concerning ACA coverage can be difficult, if not impossible, to fully comprehend. That’s why setting aside some time to sit down with Roni or one of her team members can be so valuable.

“It doesn’t cost a thing to meet with me and it could end up saving you a lot of money,” she inserts.

“Part of my job includes staying current on all of the changes regarding the ACA. I can help to guide you toward the plan that best meets your needs.”

Everything for 2018 is network driven, so choosing a plan that reflects where you want your healthcare coverage to be is crucial.

“Medical Mutual has University Hospitals in its plan, and the Cleveland Clinic has just launched its own coverage,” Roni explains. “We can help you decide if these options make sense, or something else is better suited.”

An additional option is the opportunity to enroll in a plan that is exempt from ACA governance.

“Health Share plans are similar to health insurance but are closely associated with religious affiliation,” Roni says. “They aren’t regulated by the ACA and you will not get a tax penalty for enrolling in one.”

You could also end up saving thousands of dollars on premiums by enrolling in a health share plan.

“The great thing about HealthMarkets is that we offer alternative solutions to help keep you protected,” she says. “We’re always looking for better ways to serve our clients.”

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency is located at 1039 Pearl Road, in Brunswick. Call Roni at 330-225-2550. Hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and evening hours by appointment. Visit the website at

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency Inc. is licensed as an insurance agency in all 50 states and DC. Not all agents are licensed to sell all products. Service and product availability varies by state. Sales agents may be compensated based on a consumer’s enrollment in a health plan.