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ACA: "Recommended Health Plan Groups" (Family versus 2 Individual Policies)
Old 11-21-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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ACA: "Recommended Health Plan Groups" (Family versus 2 Individual Policies)

I dove back into healthcare.gov tonight with a new email address and a clean browser. Earlier today I got my "Free Annual Credit Report" for Experian. That helped me make it past the dreaded "Verify your Identity" step where I always got stuck in the past. I did not ask for an up-front subsidy. This time I eventually made it just past the tobacco usage step, and then decided to post here before proceeding. The next step is:

Recommended health plan groups

You have multiple people in your household who qualify for coverage. You can choose whether you want to find one plan for everyone to enroll in together, a separate plan for each person, or some other grouping.
...
Keep in mind, everyone will get health coverage, even if it takes more than one plan. In general, the way your family is grouped won't change your monthly premium.

In another ER forum thread, I previously posted that two individual policies did not appear to be permitted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bamsphd View Post
I'm not sure that is permitted if you want a premium subsidy. I asked healthcare.gov online chat:

Can a married couple apply for two individual policies instead of one family policy without changing their combined premium subsidy?
The response was:
[4:00:54 pm]: Arias
A married couple would have to apply as a family.
However, now I'm definitely wondering if that online chat information is accurate. Does anyone know?
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Old 11-21-2013, 07:48 PM   #2
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They have to apply as a family in terms of filing jointly and declaring joint income for the purposes of tax credits and cost sharing on the application. However, they may obtain coverage separately, each sharing a portion of the overall tax credits and the like.

Applying and enrolling are two different steps. A married couple seeking subsidies and cost-sharing *must* file jointly and apply jointly. However, once your application is approved you can *enroll* in separate plans. I think you meant to ask if you can *enroll* in separate plans, and the answer is yes, but you have to *apply* jointly.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:56 PM   #3
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My husband and I were approved for a subsidy on the Exchange website and applied for Blue Cross. We elected to get separate policies. Husband has medical issues and I do not (so far). It works out better for us to have 2 policies with individual deductibles. The subsidy was split between us and we got 2 separate policies.

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Old 11-22-2013, 07:51 AM   #4
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Looks like I misunderstood the original healthcare.gov chat answer. The relevant part of my latest chat confirms ziggy29's answer that you must apply together, but can have separate plans.

Quote:
[8:49:43 pm]: Walter
While you and your have to be on the same application, you can each get on separate plans.
Though your state might be different, in my state for the cases I've checked the sum of two individual premiums was exactly the same to the penny as the family plan. The deductibles and most importantly OOP Max for the family plan were also just the sum of the individual plans. So if both individuals spent nothing, or both exceeded their OOP max both cases were the same. However, if only one person needed health care, the lower individual limits would make having two plans a win.
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Old 11-22-2013, 08:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for this thread! This is very helpful indeed for our situation. I definitely am higher risk to meet my full out of pocket, whereas so far (knock on wood), DH is healthy as a horse. So eventually when we do FIRE we will apply as a couple but enroll in individual policies.
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamsphd View Post
This time I eventually made it just past the tobacco usage step, and then decided to post here before proceeding. The next step is:

Recommended health plan groups
I'm still stuck on this step. I keep revisiting my application, trying to create a second health plan group so that my wife and I can have separate plans. Unfortunately, I keep getting the error message:

Quote:
There's no eligible plan. Please try again. If you continue getting this message, call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

Error ID:500.301524
I tried the number, and was basically told to try again later. That was before the holidays. Has anyone else managed to create separate groups for a husband and wife? I'm especially interested if someone in NH has managed this trick.

I'm also wondering if the fact that I stopped before finishing and then came back is the source of my problem. Might be time to try yet another application.
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Old 11-30-2013, 05:19 PM   #7
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I still cannot get back to where the plan options was for the two of us. What happens if I go all the way through with the enrollment with just myself? I have gone to the point of where I have to agree or not agree. Will the wife's options come up then?
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Old 11-30-2013, 05:33 PM   #8
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I had an insurance broker help me through the enrollment process. He said he found the incognito version of Chrome less prone to crashes and freeze-ups while navigating healthcare.gov.
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Talked to Help Line
Old 12-11-2013, 09:19 AM   #9
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Talked to Help Line

I had this same issue. They say they just added the option to break your family in to groups and that they think there is some bugs. They advised that I keep trying over the next few days.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:35 AM   #10
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I am in North Carolina. We successfully got 2 separate policies for husband and wife. We got stuck several time--had to start over several times with new email, passwords, etc. One time it finally took (early in the morning). We also found we had to eliminate cookies, close and restart browser, have to also allow popups. Crazy isn't it? But, in the end we got good policies through Blue Cross for $165 each. We have received confirmation from Blue Cross that we are signed up effective 1/1/14.

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