Open Enrollment to get health insurance for 2017 is almost over. There are only two days left to apply before the deadline to enroll or change plans so that your coverage can state on January 1st. After that, you can sign up between December 16th - January 15th and your coverage will start on February 1st, or between January 16th and January 31st for it to start March 1st. Under the Affordable Care Act you can sign up for health insurance on your state’s health insurance exchange or marketplace only during the open enrollment period, unless you have a “qualifying life event,” such as getting married or having a baby. You need to learn the facts before going through the enrollment process, so here are just a few things you need to know.
You must sign up if you don’t have health insurance from another source. The Affordable Care Act requires you to have insurance, making it illegal to go without it. Health insurance can be offered from many different places such as your job, your spouse’s employer, your parent’s plan, or government coverage. However, not everyone has this option. If you are over 26, you can no longer be on your parent’s health plan, and you might have to find a different way to get one for yourself.
This is also the time where you can make changes to your current plan. There are a few things that you can do during the open enrollment period. You can renew your current insurance plan if it is still offered or you can choose a new insurance plan through the marketplace. If you currently have a plan, it will automatically be renewed. However, the plan you have may have made changes to its provider network, copays, co-insurance, and drug coverage. Your plan must send you a notice of the changes, but not everyone looks these changes over.
Marketplace open enrollment is only for health insurance. If you do qualify for insurance through your work, you will likely get insurance through your employer and will not be affected by open enrollment. If not, you need to know that open enrollment is only for health insurance. It is not for life insurance or long-term care insurance. Those are completely different plans that you can purchase at any time of the year.
If you miss the open enrollment period, you may have to wait for a year to sign up for it. If you miss this period, you won’t be able to sign up for new coverage or make a change in yours for another year unless you qualify for a special enrollment plan. Here’s a few things that trigger a special enrollment period: divorce, marriage, birth or adoption of a child, death or a spouse, and so on.
There are a lot of things to learn about the open enrollment period before you just jump right into the first coverage you see. Consulting an expert on the situation who has all the answers to your questions can be very beneficial to you and anyone on your plan.