Its time to evaluate your health insurance and possible enroll in a new plan. Knowing what to check for or where to go can be very confusing though. Your insurance agent is here for you. We can answer your questions and help you find the best plan for you.
In the mean time, here is an article from ObamaCareFacts.com that will break it down a little for you.
Understanding ObamaCare’s 2017 Open Enrollment Period
Open Enrollment 2017 started November 1, 2016 and ends January 31, 2017. Open enrollment is the only time you can enroll in a health plan on the individual market. That means if you want to get cost assistance and avoid the monthly fee for 2017, you’ll need to get a plan between Nov. 1, 2016 – and Jan. 31, 2017. Once you get a plan, you’ll need to maintain the plan, or an exemption, for each month of the year.
- Insurance purchased before the 15th of each month starts on the 1st of the next month. If you enroll after the 15th, your coverage won’t start until the month after.
- Given the above, you’ll need to enroll by December 15th, 2016 to have a plan that starts by January 1st, 2017.
- If you enroll for 2017 coverage in January you’ll have a gap in coverage. That said, everyone is allowed a short coverage gap of less than three months each year (meaning as long as you enroll by January 31st, you are safe).
- If you miss open enrollment, your only options are Short Term Health Insurance, employer-based coverage, Medicaid, and CHIP. This means those who miss open enrollment may find themselves with no other options and may end up owing the fee.
- Medicare has an unique open enrollment period as well. If you qualify for Medicare, you don’t have to worry about ObamaCare for yourself (although you are still responsible for ensuring your tax family gets covered if you are the head-of-household). Learn more about ObamaCare and Medicare.
- You can learn all about open enrollment here. Learn more about what to do if you miss the deadline here. See our main ObamaCareFacts page for more details.
TIP: If you qualify for cost assistance, think carefully about how much you take upfront in Advanced Premium Tax Credits. Cost assistance is based on household income and family size as compared to the Federal Poverty Level. If you project your income too high, you may end up owing back tax credits via form 8962 at tax time (this is especially true if you or a tax filer in your household gains or loses income). Medicaid and out-of-pocket assistance don’t require repayment.
TIP: It is advised that those looking for coverage shop on their state’s official marketplace. This will ensure shoppers know all their options regarding cost assistance and get a major medical plan that counts as minimum essential coverage. Shoppers can also contact an online or in-person broker (like the ones featured on our site) for help selecting a marketplace health plan or off-marketplace plan. In some cases shoppers can also go direct to an insurer (although this may require going direct to an insurer’s office, as insurers are generally encouraging shoppers to use the exchange). Learn more about shopping for private health plans outside the marketplace.
TIP: See also 2017 maximums and deductibles and 2017 HSA info for plans held in 2017 (plans you buy during this 2017 open enrollment which starts Nov. 1, 2016). An HSA is an amazing way to save tax dollars for those who can manage to fund them.