Finding the right health insurance for you and your family can be a challenge. With the 2018 open enrollment season coming up, it's important to take the time now to review all your options for insurance coverage so you're ready to make the best choice during the enrollment window. This thorough guide helps you understand your health insurance options, including Covered CA, that is available under the Affordable Care Act parameters.
Important Dates for Open Enrollment 2018
To be covered in 2018, you need to sign up for health insurance during the open enrollment period. This window of time allows you to manage your coverage in several ways, including:
- Renewing your current coverage for the next year
- Changing to a different plan with your current provider
- Choosing a new insurance provider
To be covered in 2018 in California, you must sign up between November 1, 2017 and January 31, 2018. This period only relates to health care policies, not long-term care, auto, or life insurance. The enrollment dates may change in coming years, so it's important to check on the time window every year.
Coverage Is Required by Law
One of the essential requirements of the ACA is that everyone must have health insurance. In California, if you are not covered through an employer's plan, a government plan (such as Medicare or Medi-Cal), or your parent's plan (if you are under age 26), you must apply for individual coverage or pay a tax penalty. There are a few hardship exceptions to this requirement. For example, you may be excluded from the requirement if:
- You have filed for bankruptcy or been evicted
- You have expenses related to the death of a family member, a natural disaster, or domestic violence.
- You belong to a recognized religion that objects to insurance
What Is Covered CA?
One important aspect of the ACA involves changes to make health insurance more affordable. This includes insurance-related tax credits for people who meet certain income and family size requirements. If you qualify for tax credits, you must purchase a policy through California's health exchange, Covered CA, in order to receive financial assistance.
How to Get Started
Between group coverage (generally offered through an employer) and individual policies, there are numerous health insurance options available. As you prepare for open enrollment 2018, it's important to research the available providers and policies to determine which one is right for you. Working with an independent insurance agency can be an ideal option.
Here at Sackett Insurance Services, we partner with multiple providers, including Covered CA, to offer excellent choices to individuals and small businesses. For more information about California insurance and open enrollment, contact us at 707-823-3689. You can also like us on Facebook, find us google+, and subscribe to our blog.