WSJ Article Outlines Top 5 Things to Consider During this Year's Open Enrollment

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a very straightforward, no-nonsense summary of health care updates to consider during this fall’s “open enrollment” period.  It was written with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in mind, and its impacts and/or changes to the health care system in 2013.

Numbered below are the WSJ article’s “five things you need to know as you sift through your plan options over the next few weeks.”  The summaries following each are paraphrased from the more specific descriptions provided by the author.

1.      Higher Premiums

Premiums are most likely going to rise next year (estimated at 5.3%), but at a slower pace than they did this year (they rose by 5.9%).

 2.      Straightforward Summaries

The ACA requires plans provide a simple, easy to understand “Summary of Benefits and Coverage” form that illustrates how a plan works, with what’s covered and what isn’t. No fine print allowed, making it easier to compare plans side-by-side.

3.      FSA Limits

Flexible Spending Accounts will be capped at $2,500.  Prior to 2013, limits, if any, were set by the employer.  They go away entirely in 2014.

4.      Dependent Coverage

Many adult children up to age 26 will be able to remain on their parents’ policies, with some exceptions including certain grandfathered plans.

5.      Higher Spending Cap

The annual limits, or cap, on how much an insurer will pay for care will rise to $2 million, up from $1.25 million.  Before 2013, health plans could set an annual limit on how much they would spend on your covered benefits. In 2014, the cap goes away entirely.

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