Individual and Family Open Enrollment for 2015
If you don't fully understand the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you are not alone. There are dramatic and substantial changes still to come in the health insurance industry. And with that come important decisions that will affect you, and your family. There are four things you should know about ACA:
- If you do not have health insurance you will likely pay a penalty at tax-time, called the Individual Shared Responsibility Fee
- There are new options for purchasing health insurance in and out of the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Some individuals are eligible for significant discounts on health insurance, called Premium Tax Credits. In addition, Medicaid eligibility has expanded in many states
- Individual health insurance has new advantages. For example, you cannot be turned away or charged more because of a pre-existing medical condition and all health insurance plans cover essential health benefits.
So when can you enroll in individual health insurance? You can enroll in individual health insurance during a specific annual open enrollment period, or during a special enrollment period. The purpose of these enrollment periods is to control costs- it keeps people from waiting until they get sick to purchase health insurance.
The annual open enrollment period for 2015 begins November 15, 2014 and extends through February 15, 2015. During this time, you can purchase any health plan available on the individual market, or change your health plan. If you do not purchase health insurance coverage during the annual open enrollment period, you will be unable to purchase coverage until the following year unless you qualify for a special enrollment period.
You are eligible for a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event such as:
- Birth or adoption of a child
- You move to a new state, or
- You lose job-based health insurance
This special enrollment period generally last 60 days after the qualifying event, if you miss the deadline for open enrollment and you do not qualify for a special enrollment period, there are short-term health insurance policies that can help. However, you may still have to pay the Individual Shared Responsibility Fee for not having minimum essential coverage.
So what are some key takeaways for you to talk to me about?
- If you do not have health insurance coverage you will likely pay a penalty at tax time
- There are new options for purchasing health insurance, including the Health Insurance Marketplace in each state
- Some families are eligible for discounts on health insurance, called the premium tax credits
- Individual health insurance has new advantages, and is easier to buy than ever before. Most notably, you cannot be denied coverage or charged more based on a health condition
There are some simple yet effective ways for individuals to reduce their health insurance costs. Some of those ways are not immediately obvious unless you understand how the new healthcare laws and HHS regulations work in conjunction with certain IRS regulations. Give me a call and learn which options, tax credits and plans are right for your situation…TODAY!