To keep a long story short, I had an excellent health care plan at my last job (which was fully paid for by my employer) but unfortunately I got laid off before I could really enjoy it. The plan from the job I had quit before that was generous, but I had to pay a decent chunk of it (though dental was fully paid for by my employer). After going through a period of unemployment, I am now working two part time jobs that roughly equate to a little under the job I had quit, but neither offered benefits. I waited longer than I should’ve, partly since my first experience with the website was bad and overwhelming, but also since I was waiting to hear back from a job. I am still waiting to hear back, but if I get it I won’t be healthcare eligible for a few months anyway and figured best to get coverage before my trip to the Philippines in February.
The total time it took me to apply, shop for plans, and enroll was about 80 min, and that factors in technical issues on my end (wifi popped in and out). The subsidy was more than generous, and the plan I got allows me to keep my doctor, and is actually more generous than the one I had previously at the job I had quit for a fraction of the monthly cost thank to the subsidy (and still seemed cheaper than what came out of my paycheck previously). There was still room for improvement though.
The correct order should be figuring out the subsidy, shopping for a plan, and then officially selecting the subsidy. The order as it is requires you to make a decision on the subsidy before actually picking a plan.You could do the practice shopping and open it up in a separate tab or window as I did. I also had to look up some concepts on my own and had to consult a turbotax FAQ regarding how this affects tax liability (for some reason I thought the subsidy might show up on this years return, I didn’t realize it would be next year’s until I looked it up on TurboTax). Also the ‘live chat’ feature failed miserably due to delays and volume (though tomorrow is the deadline for February coverage).
When it seemed the wifi would be crapped out for a longer period of time I attempted to use the mobile site-which I do not recommend. Overall a satisfying experience and now I feel a lot more secure about my coverage. It may even help me defray the cost of these shots I have to get.
I cannot stress that my own knowledge of computers and how health insurance worked was invaluable, I wouldn’t trust someone over 50 (my parents for instance) to navigate this and I suspect most people my age know very little about how insurance actually works. I also wish I could opt into keeping this plan if I do end up switching employers, but recognize I likely would be ineligible for the subsidy if I do get the job. It seemed to be fairly flexible in terms of making changes as life changes (more so than Nelnet is for student loans for instance).
Interested to hear others experiences and happy to answer questions for those who still need to sign up.