Dr. Nutmeg’s Femmebots Navigate New York’s Health Insurance Exchange

It’s that time of year when we stop creating animations that don’t make any sense or Fake News reels that don’t make anyone laugh, and turn to the glamorous world of building a business infrastructure. We’ve got exactly one week and two days to enroll in a health insurance plan. The big question we’ve been trying to answer since open enrollment began Nov. 1 is: “WHERE do we live???” New York? Florida? DC? All of the above? So, instead of tackling the question head-on, we’ve been procrastinating for a whole month on actually signing up for something.

A guy from Trinet contacted us because we inquired about health insurance through them as a Wework member last time we were in DC…problem is we are not actually members of Wework. We were just working there for the day. But maybe if the rates are decent, we will become members of Wework, which charges $45/mo…however, this lowest pricepoint only gets us access to the community, not an actual Hotdesk, which is $190/mo and shackles us to one, single location. Ridiculous. Anyways, we won’t be meeting with the Trinet guy until next week. Meantime, we could create an account on the DC exchange and figure out our rates as individuals…OK, so without a DC home address, we can’t really apply for a DC plan. So let’s check out the Florida Health Exchange. Doh! Open enrollment ended Nov 2! Geez. OK, so let’s apply for NY.

Do we plan to claim any deductions in 2019?

  • Maybe Student Loan Interest, but we plan to have that loan all paid off by March.
  • Maybe moving expenses if we decide to move to DC to be closer to our biggest client.
  • Contributions to our retirement account because we don’t have one through a job – how much do we plan to contribute? Google says average is 10%-15% of income. That’s $450 per month. Dag.
  • Self-employed health insurance deduction – apparently 100% of the monthly premium is eligible to deduct. But we don’t know yet what the premium will be…let’s just estimate $300/mo.

Looks like we qualify for a $407 tax credit on our monthly premium. This reduces our monthly payment significantly, but it all depends on the plan we choose.

A silver plan seems good for our age group and status. It includes emergency, maternal and dental.

  • HealthFirst plans include dental, which is good in case of any major surgeries or cavity fillings. With a Bronze plan, monthly premium is $48 (after my $407 tax credit) and maximum out of pocket expense would be $7900 if I ended up with high health costs (like if I had Cancer or major surgery). With a Silver plan, monthly premium is $198 (after my $407 tax credit) and maximum out of pocket expense is $5800. But of course, they had a data breach in Florida last month. Seems like every company at some point will have a data breach. And it looks like all the hospitals that sponsor this plan are in the Bronx and none in Brooklyn. Blaaaaaaaaaaaa.
  • Oscar looks amazing and totally suits my hipster mentality, and even offers coverage for emergencies anywhere in the world (that’s me!) and for acupuncture (which I love) but it’s affiliated with Jared Kushner. Ugh. Do I sign up because it’s modern and the “Uber of Health Insurance???” None of the plans being offered to me include dental, though. Do I need dental?
  • EmblemHealth had a data breach this year that exposed 80,000 social security numbers. Again, it’s a fact of our reality these days that data breaches happen. This one includes dental, monthly premium for a silver plan is $178, lots of hospitals in the network, and the most I would pay out of pocket is $5100. It’s also a non-profit and includes acupuncture. This is the One.
  • Fidelis Care is a nonprofit that looks like it’s expanding, and has positive reviews, but the options I’ve been given don’t include dental coverage. Uggg.
  • MetroPlus is NY government workers’ preferred health insurance plan, and it’s open to independents like me…but according to the NYTimes, I would have to go to NY’s public hospitals for care, if God forbid, I had an emergency…although that article is from 2014.

Ugh. This process SUCKS. All the plans kinda suck. But after meeting with the Trinet guy about plans I could buy as a “business owner” in DC, it looks like EmblemHealth in NYC is the One. Hope this info has helped someone out there also make the right choice!