Californians: Care to share your health insurance experiences, tips, etc.?

Just got my Anthem notice that my plan will be cancelled and the new “equivalent” plan for 2018 will have a price increase of about 25%. I have Anthem through Covered California, not just plain ol’ Anthem, and I hear some rumors that you might actually save money by getting out of the exchange and buying on the open market.

Anyone have some success stories to share (or if you just want to commiserate, that’s cool, too)?

For me, I don’t qualify for any subsidies. I pay 100% out of pocket (self employed).

I’d prefer we don’t get into a political discussion, and keep it solution focused, if that’s possible.

I used the services of a navigator, and got a pretty decent plan from Health Net.

Good thing I had assistance; I first tried using myself, and got hopelessly bollixed. The interface is not (was not at the time) user-friendly at all.

Is a “navigator” some sort of insurance broker? I have not heard that term before wrt insurance.

Navigators are paid professionals – paid for by the state! – who help individuals apply for health insurance on the California gateway. I believe other states have similar programs.

When I signed up with a Navigator, I had to sign papers that gave them the power to represent me in the sign-up process, but I never had to pay anything at all for this service.

I don’t know what is the best way to make an initial appointment for consulting a Navigator…but I do highly recommend making use of one. I tried using the web site myself, and got pretty much stymied. (I’m at near-poverty level, and the system would only offer me Medi-Cal as an option. My Navigator was able to find other selections.)

There is some loose talk of California going to a single-payer state-run health care plan, which I’d admire to see happen. I don’t think it will; I think we’ll probably wait and let Massachussetts do it first, and learn from their experience. Till then, we have to muddle through as best we can.

I live in California, and used a navigator to get an off-exchange plan through Blue Shield. This plan will exist next year, but it will have a price increase of 28%. So I might change to Kaiser, which is my only other option in this county, and which is a little cheaper. But it’s a big decision: It means all the doctors for my family will have to change.

Of course, with an off-exchange plan there is no subsidy, so only choose it if you’re not eligible anyway.

I found my navigator by looking up “health insurance broker” on Yelp, and picking a local, highly rated one. Sounds simplistic, but I’m satisfied.