It’s that time of year: the Health Insurance Marketplace’s annual Open Enrollment Period. Now you can evaluate benefits, calculate subsidies and determine the best plan for you and your family. Granted, insurance can get complicated, and if you’re not working with a health insurance broker, it can be difficult to manage all the important information coming your way. To help, we here at Sackett & Associates Insurance Services have compiled this list of things to keep in mind as you navigate enrollment for 2019.
Check Out Subsidy Eligibility
Depending on your annual income, you may be eligible to receive a subsidy. This can have a huge impact on your choice of insurance as, in some cases, subsidies can effectively lower the monthly premium of certain plans down to zero. In other cases, you may see hundreds of dollars knocked off potential monthly premiums, allowing you to choose a plan with lower deductibles.
Estimate Your Income
How do subsidies come into play? They’re determined by your projected annual income, which you’ll have to provide to your health insurance broker during open enrollment. It’s vital that you report your estimated income as accurately as possible to ensure that your subsidy eligibility is correctly determined. If you underestimate and receive subsidies you don’t actually qualify for, you’ll likely have to pay them back.
Compare More Than Just Premiums
There’s not doubt that premiums are a huge factor when it comes to purchasing health insurance. After all, it’s an expense you need to cover every month. However, a lower premium can mean higher prices in other areas, and you don’t want to be surprised by a bill for uncovered services when you need vital medical care. You’ll want to evaluate available plans for out-of-pocket costs and other factors, such as:
- Prescription coverage
- Out-of-network costs
Depending on your price range, subsidies and even location, this can be a lot of information to sift through. If you’re having trouble figuring out which plan benefits you the most, a health insurance broker can help compare offerings and determine which best meets your healthcare needs.
Enroll Before the Deadline
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the health insurance Open Enrollment Period has a deadline: January 15, 2019. Once this date passes, you’ll have to apply for a Special Enrollment Period in order to purchase insurance through the Marketplace. This can be tough, as Special Enrollment is generally only available under specific circumstances.
It’s also vital to realize that while January 15th is the last day of the enrollment period, you actually need to be enrolled by December 15, 2018, if you want coverage effective January 1, 2019. If you enroll after December 15, 2018, your health insurance won’t come into effect until February 1st,2019. So when you mark your calendar, be sure you’re circling the right date.
Sackett & Associates Insurance Services is proud to offer health insurance services for both small businesses and individuals. As an independent agency, we work to provide insurance solutions that are both reliable and competitive. For more information on how we can help you meet your health insurance needs, contact us at (707) 823-3689 or visit us online. To find more useful articles about the insurance shopping process, like us on Facebook, find us onLinkedIn andsubscribe to our blog.