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Health Insurance Open Enrollment for 2018 Ends Soon! Here’s What to Do! (Updated)

November 16, 2017

This post was originally published on 01/13/2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

The open enrollment period to purchase an individual or family insurance policy on the Marketplace is the ONLY time during the year that you can change, update or cancel your policy  –  without penalty or having to qualify for a life event.

But open enrollment for Marketplace health insurance will soon come to an end.

Make sure you get in touch with your insurance agent before December 15, 2017.

This is the LAST day to make changes.

Making sense of dates

Open enrollment began back on November 1, 2017.

If you enroll in a policy by December 15, 2017, your new policy will be effective on January 1, 2018.

If you don’t enroll in a health insurance plan for 2018 by the last day of open enrollment (December 15, 2017), you can’t enroll in any health insurance plan this year  –  unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and you have a Qualifying Life Event (QLE).

If you don’t have insurance

If you don’t hold insurance, you must sign up for a policy during open enrollment if you meet any of these qualifications:

  • Your employer doesn’t offer health insurance.
  • You don’t have health insurance through your spouse.
  • You can’t be covered through your parent’s policy because you’re older than 26.

What you can do during Open Enrollment 2018

Take advantage of this year’s open enrollment period and:

  • Renew your individual policy.
  • Renew your family health insurance plan.
  • Look for a new plan that offers better coverage.
  • Purchase a policy with lower/higher premiums.
  • Get a plan with lower copays or co-insurance.
  • Switch to a new plan so you can visit a different doctor or hospital.
  • Get lower-cost and/or better drug coverage.
  • Take advantage of tax credits.

The penalty

If you decide to forego health insurance coverage, you’ll be subject to a penalty.

In 2017, the penalty was equal to $695 per adult (or $347.50 per child) or 2.5 percent of your income  –  or whichever is greater.

If you owe this penalty due to not having health insurance, and you get a tax refund at the end of the year, this penalty will be subtracted from your tax refund.

Choose your best plan

It pays to investigate your health insurance options, not just to avoid the penalty.

Having health coverage ultimately encourages better health and will prevent you from going into debt should you need surgery or get into an accident that requires hospitalization and long-term treatment.

The Marketplace offers four types of categories:

  • Bronze. These typically have high deductibles and higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Silver. This type of plan will have lower cost-sharing levels for things like copays and co-insurance than a bronze plan.
  • Gold. With a gold policy, your cost-sharing will be even lower.
  • Platinum. At this level, you’ll pay the lowest in terms of cost-sharing.

All of the plans on the Marketplace MUST offer the 10 essential benefits, which are:

  1. Outpatient care.
  2. Hospitalization.
  3. Emergency care.
  4. Pregnancy and newborn care.
  5. Prescription drugs.
  6. Mental health and substance abuse services.
  7. Lab tests.
  8. Rehabilitation services and devices.
  9. Dental and vision care (for children).
  10. Preventive care and wellness services.

Don’t ignore the opportunity to improve your health insurance, lower your healthcare costs and protect yourself (and your family). Contact InsureOne Benefits to get help selecting and enrolling in a health insurance plan that meets your personal and financial needs. Just call us today!

Open Enrollment Cheat Sheet Ohio Residents

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