2018 Health Insurance Open Enrollment is Here

posted Jasmyne Green 11/13/2017 in Insurance

Do health coverage options and the related costs leave you scratching your head?

November 1st marked the beginning of open enrollment. But what exactly is open enrollment? And what do you need to know? If your eyes are starting to glaze over, you can be assured you are clearly not alone. Here we break down your health insurance basics so you can be prepared.

What is open enrollment?

Health insurance open enrollment is the time where you can you enroll in or change your health insurance coverage without qualifying for a special enrollment period. Open enrollment for 2018 began on November 1st. If you wish to begin your new coverage January 1st, 2018, you’ll need to complete your enrollment before December 15th.  ( More information on date and deadlines.)

What is a special enrollment period?

A special enrollment period allows you to enroll or change your health insurance coverage due to a life changing event. These include having a baby, adopting a child, marriage, or losing other health coverage. ( More information on special enrollment.)

Do I need health insurance?

The Affordable Care Act requires that you have health insurance. If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you may be required to pay a fee. The fee will be charged for any month you don’t have coverage and will be due when you file your federal tax return. This fee can be as much as $695 per adult or 2.5% of your household income. ( More information on penalty fees.)
There a few exceptions, so if you elect not to have health insurance and want to avoid a fee make sure you qualify for an exemption here. Policies through your workplace, Medicare, and Medicaid typically meet these requirements and will prevent a penalty. (More information on types of health insurance that count.)

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Health Insurance Marketplace is available for those who do not have an affordable health insurance option. If you don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid and your workplace doesn’t provide insurance, the Marketplace can help you get a health insurance policy. Each state’s Marketplace and support varies. Iowa has a “state-partnership marketplace” which means that local insurance agents can assist you with the federally supported Marketplace.
If you need assistance with your health insurance options, Gary Winterhof, one of our certified local agents will help you identify your coverage needs and provide comprehensive insurance solutions for your family. Simply contact him today or visit our site now where you can find health insurance options online through Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or the Marketplace.

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