Tom Vick 2017-11-22 22:28:25
REVIEW YOUR OPTIONS If you’re keeping up with the news out of Washington, you know that this is a time of uncertainty for health care. In recent months, numerous carriers have gone so far as to pull out of the federal exchange in certain areas, or altogether. This in turn has led many people to question what options, if any, will be available for them and their families. For the remaining carriers and their plans, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone reading this that individual major medical insurance options are becoming more costly and available plans are leaving many people without vital access to their preferred carriers and offerings. This issue is being felt all over the nation. And yet, open enrollment is upon us. Unlike in previous years, the 2018 open enrollment period was significantly reduced from the typical three-month period to only 45 days. That period started November 1 and ends December 15, 2017. Individuals seeking health insurance are eligible to shop the federal exchange to review and compare available plans, their costs, and the coverage offered in their area. This time constraint will undoubtedly hinder individuals’ ability to receive assistance. However, Texas lawyers have an advantage. In times like these, and especially this year, it is a relief to know that we, as members of the State Bar of Texas, have access to the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange for advice and assistance. The State Bar of Texas debuted the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange in the fall of 2013. Since then, its online clearinghouse has listed an ever-expanding range of health insurance options available to both individuals and small employer groups. Our exchange is open to members of the State Bar of Texas, their employees, local bar staff, and Texas law students, including spouses, domestic partners, and dependents. While the federal exchange contains insurance plans that offer a government subsidy, the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange includes those same plans as well as plans not currently available through the federal exchange. Courtney Trefry, a senior account executive with Member Benefits, which administers our exchange, said the company is tirelessly working to educate Texas lawyers about the benefits of small group plans. A lawyer needs to have at least one other full-time employee to potentially qualify as a small group, which can lead to additional plan options and benefits. To learn more about the Texas Bar Private Insurance Exchange or schedule an appointment with a benefits counselor, go to memberbenefits.com/texasbar. To speak with someone at the State Bar of Texas about the exchange, contact Cory Squires at email@example.com. The time is now to review your options, make changes where necessary, and move forward into a healthier 2018. TOM VICK President, State Bar of Texas
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