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OnlineNavigator insurance enrollment supportNeed help?

We make it easy to get friendly, personal and help with health care reform questions through two fast support options:

Email support:
Email support is available 24/7 usually with same day response. Address your message to

Telephone support:
Schedule telephone support with a call back at your convenience.

OnlineNavigator support is an independent service offered by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA MT subject to the adviser's schedule availability. This support is not intended to replace the services offered and available through other channels by your insurance company, insurance agents and health insurance navigators. Specifically, this service does not replace  online pricing and enrollment functions, billing, claims or administrative services and does not assist with Medicare or Medicaid plans.

See the OnlineNavigator web site for details on privacy policy and terms of service. 

Covering the Gaps in Obamacare

AUIC Deductible Supplement Insurance - three defined dollar benefit levels to add protection for unexpected hospital bills and other medical expenses left uncovered by primary insurance
AUIC Qualified Health Plan Supplement Insurance - no need to fear the out-of-pocket cost of doctor visits, hospital charges and other expenses left by primary medical coverage.
Core Health Insurance - the nation's most popular defined benefit health plans with guaranteed acceptance from US Fire Insurance Company
Health plans and resources for diabetics - a listing of the health plan options and other resources
Value 24 Hour Accident - up to $10,000 of supplemental health insurance coverage for emergency treatment of injuries at a cost of about $2 per day. Can be used as a stand-alone coverage or added to other insurance.

Most Affordable Supplemental Coverage

Value Med Insurance - 3 question simple medical eligibility and immediate approval for supplemental doctor and hospital benefits

Primary Individual Major Medical Through a Private Exchange

Members Health Insurance Exchange allows you to price and choose from among many of the nations leading major medical health insurance options from a wide range of carriers. Personal help is available through OnlineNavigator to help with your selection.

Dental and Vision Insurance

Secure DentalOne - one lifetime deductible of $100 and then up to $1,250 per year coverage
Dental, Vision and Hearing Insurance - no deductible option, use any dentist, ophthalmologist, optometrist, physician or audiologist, no networks!

Online Life Insurance

International Term Life - up to $2 million coverage issued by Lloyds online specifically for those who spend time outside of the US

Critical Illness and Cancer Insurance

Consumers Direct Critical Illness Insurance - Secure UpgradeSM $10,000 lump sum supplemental coverage for cancer, stroke or health disease for as little as $25 per month.

Ohio health insurance news

by Tony Novak, CPA, MBA, MT   last updated: February 21, 2016

The two top priorities among individuals and small business who pay for their own health coverage is to find more affordable primary insurance and cover rapidly rising out-of-pocket medical costs that are not paid by primary health insurance.

Prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Ohio had 30 commercial health insurance companies licensed to offer individual health insurance and 27 small group health insurance plans. These standard health insurance plans are no longer available today following implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Since the passage of federal health insurance reform law, individuals and small businesses (with less than 50 employees) in Ohio can now purchase health insurance through the federal heath insurance clearinghouse or through a number of privately operated insurance exchanges. The state government is likely to expand its own insurance exchange system in cooperation with either the federal or private systems within the next few years.

Non-insurance options, like Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) can be added as effective cost-control tools; ask your adviser for more information.

This Web page lists some of the most popular low cost commercial health insurance plans and related benefits. Freedom Benefits offers personal assistance with any insurance exchange or health reform issue through Your enrollment adviser is available to discuss suitability of any plan for your specific situation.

The state insurance exchange is open now for coverage starting in 2016. Individuals without insurance right now should make arrangements for temporary coverage through a short term medical insurance policy until then. Covered health benefits under insurance purchased through the exchange in 2016 will be different than those offered though any 2013 health plans. The insurance plan that sets the benchmark for qualified coverage through the exchange is listed here and a list of state-mandated benefits can be found here.

Commercial insurance exchanges may also list less expensive insurance without the essential health benefits.

low cost health insurance

Ohio insurance and benefit pricing

Ohio had the 12th lowest health insurance costs of all states in 2008 with an average family premium of $11,425 per year. (The average annual premium for a U.S. family covered under an employer-sponsored health plan in 2008 was $12,298 according to The Commonwealth Fund report. The overall quality of health care ranked 21st out of the 51 states (including DC).
The state ranked #45 in physical wellbeing (having good health and enough energy to get things done daily) according to a 2015 Gallup Healthways survey.
New state laws that will be phased in beginning January 1, 2010 limit the cost of guaranteed issue commercial coverage for high risk individuals to 150% of the standard rate. Ohio does not sponsor a high risk health insurance pool.

Short Term Insurance

Markel Smart STM - popular and affordable short term major medical insurance with fast online approval
Secure STM - along with its 12 month and 36 month options, this may be the highest quality short term coverage
Secure Lite STM - the lowest priced major medical insurance for 1 to 12 months
Secure Saver STM - $2 million maximum coverage for 1-12 months at an ultra-low rate

Immigrant Insurance

Inbound Immigrant - up to five years of liberal health insurance coverage after immigration including maternity coverage, emergency and other essential benefits

Supplemental Accident Insurance

Consumers Direct Accident Medical - Protection UpgradeSM supplemental coverage for as little as $20 per month.
Smart Accident Insurance - supplemental coverage for emergency treatment of accidents and injuries for as little as $20 per month. Can be used as a stand-alone accident plan or to increase other insurance benefits.

low cost health insurance

Ohio insurance law and regulation

The Ohio Department of Insurance Web site contains help sections for each type of insurance including a section on financially assisted health plans and Medicaid.  The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.
The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (800) 686-1526 or by mail at P O Box 303351, Montgomery, AL 36130-3351. The state children's health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Ohio Healthy Start.

Small business plans

Freedom Benefits offers professional help with setup of self-administered Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), Premium Reimbursement Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and insurance at a low price than any small business can afford.

Non-insurance Discount Plans

Careington PPO Discount Plans - the nation's leading network PPO discount provider allows a no-risk trial of any discount plan for only a $20 processing fee
Drug Card America - a free prescription drug card that an be used nationwide
Essential Dental Solutions - simple, inexpensive, no waiting period, up to $500 treatment per year
Rx Pay Card - $10, $20, or $30 payments for hundreds of popular prescriptions.


CallMD - Doctors and nurses literally on call 24/7 to answer questions, help with medical screening and write prescriptions saving you money with the most common types of medical care. $20 per month covers everyone in the household.

International Coverage and Travel Insurance

Ohio Insurance News

2/21/2015 Most health insurance companies in Ohio and across the nation missed their enrollment goals for 2015. But one Dayton-based company is an exception. CareSource enrolled about 65,000 of the 230,000 Ohio residents who purchased individual health insurance this year, more than double the number they enrolled in the previous year.

12/20/2014 Thousands of United Healthcare patients living around Cincinnati may need to change doctors for 2015 because United Healthcare has not renewed its contract with UC Health system.

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Ohio residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated "A" by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific "essential health benefits" for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

1/11/2013 Ohio health care costs increased at a faster pace than the national average in 2012, forcing health insurance costs significantly higher. Younger and healthier people who buy individual health insurance from private companies are most greatly affected because insurers are no loner able to separate the rates for these customers from those of less healthy people. Celtic Insurance, for example, paid medical claims that greatly exceeded the premiums it collected. The only way to remain in business was to increase rates to policyholders by an average of 39%. Golden Rule Insurance, another carrier with historically lower premiums, will raise rates by 19%. Industry experts say that these cost increases are only the beginning of the trend of increased medical insurance expenses triggered by the federal health insurance reform known as Obamacare. A Milliman study commissioned by state government predicts that health insurance premiums for individuals buying insurance in Ohio will rise an average 55 to 85 percent in 2014.

2/21/2012 Ohio High Risk Pool plan administered by Medical Mutual of Ohio is designed to give uninsured Ohioans with pre-existing conditions access to quality health insurance. With two affordable plan choices, responsive local customer service and access to the largest network of doctors and hospitals in the state, the Ohio High Risk Pool gives you the coverage you need—right now. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Rates have changed for all enrollees and new applicants effective Nov. 1, 2011. Deductibles for all members will also reset on Jan. 1, 2012. Throughout the year, your contribution amount may be affected based on your age. Any adjustments will take effect at the beginning of the month following your birthday. Rates will also be adjusted based on changes in your region or status as a tobacco user. For more information, contact customer service at 877.730.1117.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that as of June 30, 2011 Anthem BCBS and Medical Mutual of Ohio are the state's largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state's essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

7/21/2011 Despite strong opposition to federal health care reform, Ohio's governor John Kasich supports alternate insurance exchange proposals. "We want to create an exchange, but we don't want an Obama exchange," Kasich said, later adding: "The idea of a place where people can shop and small businesses can shop, I fully support the idea." The comments reported in The Columbus Dispatch follow release of federal guidelines that allow states liberal in the setup and endorsement of health insurance exchanges. It is still too soon to predict the form state support will be available for private independent exchanges like Freedom Benefits and support services like OnlineAdviser and OnlineNavigator.

7/12/2011 UnitedHealthOne critical illness insurance is now available. This insurance pays $10,000 to $50,000 in addition to any other insurance at the time that a diagnosis of stroke, heart attack or life-threatening cancer. Personal rates quotes are available by email from OnlineAdviser. A brochure and application can be downloaded from

2/12/2011 With dozens of health plans choices available online offering a wide range of pricing and benefits, how do you find the best combination of price and benefits? Celtic Insurance realizes that the choices can be overwhelming; the company offers more than 40 possible health plan designs in many parts of the United States. A new feature called "Help Me Choose" lets users easily and quickly select the benefits they value most and narrows the list down to a few of the best choices. No personal information is required other than zip code and date of birth.

1/19/2011 Child-only health insurance for children with significant medical problems will be available through an open enrollment period mandated by federal state law during the month of March. All children, regardless of medical condition, continue to be eligible for insurance when applying as a dependent on a parent’s policy and healthy children are eligible for child-only insurance at any time. When applying for child-only insurance for more than one child, make a separate application for each child.

1/11/2011 Ohio became the 21st state to join in a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government challenging the authority to effect health care reforms. Four states are making separate legal challenges to the law, making the total 25 states fighting against Obamacare. Legal experts believe the case will eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. We believe that the individual mandate provision, called the backbone of the reform law, will not survive legal challenge but it is uncertain what will happen with other reform provisions in the absence of this key provision.

1/1/2011 Ohio Open Enrollment Program - Ohio law requires insurance companies to accept a certain number of individuals for open enrollment coverage without regard to health status. If you qualify as a Federally Eligible Individual (FEI), your coverage will be effective immediately without any pre-existing condition exclusion period. If you do not qualify as a FEI, you may apply for non-FEI open enrollment coverage.

You are a Federally Eligible Individual if you meet all of the following conditions:

1. You had health coverage for at least 18 months without a break in coverage greater than 63 days.

2. Your most recent health coverage was under a group health plan, governmental plan or church plan.

3. You are not eligible for coverage under any of the following plans:

a. A group health plan

b. Medicare

c. Medicaid

4. You do not have any other health coverage.

5. Your most recent health coverage was not terminated because of nonpayment of premiums or fraud.

6. If you had been offered the option to continue coverage under COBRA or a state continuation plan, you both elected and exhausted the continuation coverage.

You are a Non-Federally Eligible Individual if you meet the following conditions:

1. You are not applying for coverage as an employee of an employer, member of an association or member of any
other group.

2. You do not have any other health coverage and are not eligible to be covered under any private or public health benefit plans including the following:

a. Medicare or Medicare supplement policy

b. Medicaid

c. Any COBRA or state continuation coverage plan

d. Other health benefits arrangement

If the insurance company has not yet met its enrollment quota, they will offer you the Ohio health care Basic and Standard benefit plans for purchase. You may need to submit proof of previous creditable coverage. The insurance company is not required to accept applicants who at the time of enrollment, are confined to a health care facility due to chronic illness or permanent injury. As a Non-Federally Eligible Individual coverage may be limited for pre-existing conditions for the first 12 months, however, you will be credited time you were covered under a recent previous health plan. The open enrollment program will remain open until the statutory limit has been reached for each insurance company.

12/16/2010 Ohio Department of Insurance officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Ohio said that it would: 1) Coordinate public and stakeholder through a specially constituted task force, 2) Inform Ohioans of Exchange planning activities through public notices and Ohio’s health reform website, and 3) Conduct market analysis, modeling Ohio’s public programs and private insurance markets to provide projections and analysis necessary for planning and implementing an Exchange.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

6/28/2010 High Risk Health Insurance Up to 5,000 Ohio residents with significant ongoing medical expenses ineligible for other coverage are now eligible to purchase health insurance under the federal health insurance reform program. Individual open enrollment health insurance is offered through Medical Mutual of Ohio regardless of previous medical conditions except that those currently confined to a health care facility due to chronic illness or permanent injury are not eligible. Premium rates are currently $457 for basic coverage and $613 for standard coverage. The premium costs are subsidized by funds from the federal government totaling about $30,000 over the next three years for each expected participant in the plan. Coverage may be limited for pre-existing conditions for the first 12 months if the applicant is currently uninsured or there is a gap in previous recent coverage greater than 63 days. Otherwise, a three month waiting period applies to pre-existing medical conditions. Quotes are available online but application must be made with a paper application that may be downloaded in PDF format for printing at home.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Ohio is now available at Freedom Benefits.

3/23/2010 A citizen-based constitutional amendment has been introduced to protect the rights of Ohioans to opt out of the federal health care reform.

Mission Statement| Editorial Policy| Privacy Policy| About Freedom Benefits| News| Investors

This web site is independently owned and managed by Tony Novak operating under the trademarks "Freedom Benefits", "OnlineAdviser" and "OnlineNavigator". Opinions expressed are the sole responsibility of the author and do not represent the opinion of any other person, company or entity mentioned. Tony Novak is not an agent, broker, producer or navigator for any federal or state health insurance exchange but may provide uncompensated advice, reviews and referrals to these official resources. Novak is compensated as an accountant, adviser, affiliate consultant, marketer, reviewer, endorser, producer, lead generator or referrer to some of the other commercial companies listed on this site. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.