Last year we introduced Take Command Health, a Dallas-based web platform that helps consumers make better, more informed decisions when it comes to selecting a health insurance plan. Today, Take Command Health, has announced the release of its enhanced online tool that helps individuals find and enroll in the best health insurance plan for them—just ahead of the 2016 Open Enrollment season which runs from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.
“More than 1.2 million Texans will be shopping for individual health insurance this year,” said CEO, Jack Hooper. “Research shows that more than 85 percent of people will make a poor plan choice, costing them more than $530 a year in unnecessary health expenses. That’s a $540 million problem and growing for Texas.”
“Premiums are going up 7.5% on average this year, but consumers make it worse by choosing the wrong plan,” Hooper added in an email. He also outlined some of the most common (and costly) mistakes made by consumers:
- Overpaying for doctors: Some networks are huge but expensive, others are too small and leave you with expensive “out-of-network” charges. Getting this just right is key to saving money.
- Automatically renewing and not shopping around: Most people who renew will see premium increases, while many of the dozens of new plans may be cheaper and better suited for the individual.
- Getting tricked by the primary care co-pay amount: Research shows insurance companies know how to market these numbers, and you’re likely getting burned by the small print you’re not paying attention too.
- Being afraid of high deductibles: People are scared of high deductibles, but they can be a good thing, even if you need a lot of care. With healthcare reform, the number you should watch is the “max-out-of-pocket” more than the deductible.
- Overpaying for drug coverage: Many common drugs are cheap even without insurance. Insurance companies will sell you prescription benefits for $150 more a month to get a $10 copay on a drug that costs $5 at your neighborhood pharmacy.
Take Command Health’s free step-by-step guide helps individuals compare plans from Healthcare.gov side-by-side with private plans from major companies like Aetna, Blue Cross, United, Humana, and Cigna.
Users answer simple questions about their favorite doctors, prescriptions, and medical needs. Take Command Health compares those results against a database of millions of actual medical claims and thousands of doctors. The tool then recommends a plan that best fits the customer’s needs. Users can also determine if they are eligible for Federal tax credits and can filter out plans based on personal preferences such as “no HMOs” or “HSA compatible plans.”
“People are either surprised by how many plans are actually available to them or they aren’t sure how to compare different plans against each other,” said Hooper. “Confusing health insurance terms also make the selection process overwhelming. Our goal is to be an advocate for our consumers to help them make the best choice.”