SIGNING UP FOR A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN DURING OPEN ENROLLMENT
If you want to buy a health plan or change the plan you have, what do you do?
Presented by Corey Branam, Group Accounts Manager
Congress is working fast to create a new set of health care laws to reform and replace the Affordable Care Act. This has many consumers confused as to if they will be able to get Obamacare coverage in the next year.
If you want to buy a health plan or change the plan you have, what do you do? You can get a quote online from Healthcare.gov or from your state Marketplace. Then you can pick the plan you want and sign up. If you don’t have health insurance, you may face a tax penalty.
Consumers hoping to enroll in a 2018 ACA plan may have much less time to sign up. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would shorten the open enrollment period by 6 weeks. If the rule becomes final, OEP will run from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. Consumers seeking an ACA plan for 2018 should mark their calendars accordingly so they do not miss the deadline.
Here are some things you need to know about signing up for a health insurance plan.
OPEN ENROLLMENT DEADLINES
Each year, there are set dates when individuals and families can buy or change their health insurance. This time period is called Open Enrollment. For 2018, Open Enrollment starts on November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD *1
What if you need to change your health insurance because something major happens in your life before or after the dates for Open Enrollment? Then you may be eligible to apply during the Special Enrollment Period. You have 60 days to change your plan if any of these events happen:
- You lose your health insurance plan at work
- You get married
- You have or adopt a child
- Your insurance carrier made a mistake on your insurance contract
- You have a Marketplace plan and your status for getting help to pay for your plan changes
- You moved and need to pick another plan based on the insurance coverage area
- And other qualifying life events
Are you going through any of these situations? If you are, you may be eligible to apply for health insurance coverage during the Special Enrollment Period by shopping on http://healthcare.gov.
TIPS FOR HEALTH INSURANCE SHOPPING
- Keep the 2018 enrollment dates in mind: November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
- Note major life events like getting married, having a baby or moving. When these things happen, you have 60 days to change your health insurance plan or sign up for a new one.
- Compare plans based on your family’s medical needs for the coming year. In choosing a plan, think about things like:
- Does someone in your family need prescribed drugs often?
- Is anyone in your family thinking of having surgery next year?
- Do you expect to have many doctor visits next year?
- Are your doctors in the plan’s network?
- Does your family need dental insurance?
- Are you looking for a plan that offers a tax advantaged health savings account?
- In choosing a deductible, think about things like:
- Is your family healthy most of the time? Do you believe that you won’t need costly medical services during the year? Then, a plan with a higher deductible and lower premium may be a good choice for you.
- Do you anticipate a lot of medical expenses for your family during the year? Or do you have an active family with children who play sports? Then, a plan with a lower deductible and higher premium may be a good choice for you.
- Have each family member’s social security number and birth date handy.
- Have a check, bank account or credit card ready to make the first payment. Decide on the way you’ll make ongoing payments.
- See if you’re able to get Federal Financial Assistance to pay for a Marketplace plan. If you are, round up tax files, job and income info to apply for aid on the Health Insurance Marketplace.
- Save your online forms so you don’t have to re-enter info if you return later to finish them.
There are many options available and rules to follow. COBRA is another option if you lose your job. Talk to an insurance professional before making a decision.
To learn more, call our office. Jeff Goldsmith can be reached at (901) 683-4030.