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Five Things to Remember About Open Enrollment in 2015

Posted on November 18, 2012 by admin

For the second straight year, Americans will have the opportunity to enroll or re-enroll in an insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace or insurer websites. However, to make sure that you do not stumbled into any difficulties when open enrollment begins on November 15, it is crucial that you are mindful of these five factors.

1) The open enrollment period has been shortened.

Unlike last year, when Americans were given six months to sign up for health insurance, insured and uninsured individuals alike will only have between the November 15 and February 15 deadline to secure healthcare. Furthermore, if you want to receive health insurance that goes into effect on the first day of January, then you must purchase coverage before the December 15 deadline. If you choose your health plan after that, coverage will kick in on the first day of the following month. Purchasing insurance on February 1, for instance, would mean that your coverage started on March 1.

2) The penalty for not purchasing health insurance coverage has gone up.

While those who refused to purchase coverage last year only had to pay a $95 fine, Americans who forgo health insurance this year will face a steeper $325 penalty, or have to pay two percent of their income, whichever number is greater.

3) Information on insurance subsidies will be made available to the public on November 15.

If you would like to have an idea of what your subsidies may be, organizations such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Kaiser Family Foundation feature tools that can help you calculate your grants.

4) Last year’s enrollees are required to re-enroll for health insurance.

In order to maintain health coverage, all previous enrollees must either renew their current health insurance plan or choose a new one. It is recommended that customers examine the specifics of their current plan as well as their current needs to see if they require a more inclusive plan or less expensive plan.

5) Certain states have more competition, and thus, cheaper health coverage rates.

Michigan, for example, features 16 separate insurers on the Health Insurance Marketplace. This number is up from the 12 original companies that were available to consumers last year. The result of this increased competition is more affordable medical insurance rates for customers.