Guide to Health Insurance Open Enrollment

Guide to Health Insurance Open Enrollment

5 Easy Steps to Prepare for Health Insurance Enrollment

Open enrollment period is here, which means you can start, stop or make any changes to your individual or family health insurance plan.

1.    Find out from your employer whether they offer medical insurance. If they don’t, you might have to buy insurance on your own, either through the Health Insurance Marketplace, or another insurance provider. You might face a tax penalty if you don’t get insurance coverage during this time
2.    Become educated about the meaning of some terms like coinsurance and deductibles, and the difference between types of plans
3.    Ask questions! Find out if you can keep your doctor, or whether the plan covers maternity, dental, or pediatric expenses. If you’re younger than 26, find out if you can get the coverage on your parent’s plan extended. Finally, ask if you’re qualified for a tax credit or subsidy that will give you affordable insurance
4.    Have all necessary information available. This includes data concerning your household income, and birth dates and social security numbers for every family member that is to be insured. Know how you’ll be paying for the monthly premiums
5.    Make a budget. You should take into account all your expenses, so you can determine how much you can spend on healthcare and premiums each month

Health Insurance Plan Types

We have created a guide for you which discusses Medicaid plans versus job-based plans, which will provide you with a breakdown of prices for affordable health care for open enrollment period 2017.

There are 4 different family and individual health insurance plans in the marketplace – platinum, gold, silver, and bronze, corresponding to how much cost-sharing they need.

The Bronze plan has the highest cost sharing and deductibles, meaning more out of pocket costs when you use health care. The Silver plan has less cost-sharing than Bronze, the Gold plan has lower cost-sharing than Silver, and the Platinum plan has the least amount of co-pays and deductibles. A good rule of thumb is that the more money you pay upfront in premiums, the less your cost sharing will be.

Which plan is best for you?

If you have a chronic health condition and go to see a doctor regularly, you should find a plan that has lower deductibles and co-pays. If you’re in pretty good health, you might be better off getting a plan that has lower premiums up front but more costs whenever you use the insurance.

Just remember that whatever plan you decide on, you’ll be locked into that plan until the next open enrollment period. You might be able to qualify for a tax credit based on family size and income – that is, your family income has to fall between 100% and 400% of the FPL (Federal Poverty Level). Also, you might not have to purchase health insurance if you’ve suffered a hardship, such as a damaging flood or fire, or you’ve suffered bankruptcy or been evicted from your home.

Tips For Medicaid and Medicare

Medicare and Medicaid open enrollment runs from October 15, 2017 to December 7, 2015. You can get insurance quotes to compare plans at 1-800-MEDICARE or by going to the website.

Each year there are changes in the drug and health plans that you should be aware of. Check the materials your current plan send you. If they mention an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) or Evidence of Coverage (EOC), read the material closely because you might want to make changes for a better fitting plan during the open enrollment period. It is more beneficial to you to see if you’re qualified for Medicaid because these programs are less expensive and provide millions of families and individuals that have disabilities or limited incomes with medical benefits.

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