forms to apply for health insurance

Tips for Open Enrollment 2015

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare,created a standard window of time when health insurance would be available through the ACA Marketplaces. The open enrollment season for health insurance this year begins November 15, 2014, and ends February 15, 2015. It’s important to take this opportunity to review your coverage and select the best coverage for you and your family. Consider the tips below when making these important choices.

Update Your Marketplace Application

The tax subsidies for insurance are determined based on your family size and expected income for 2015. It’s likely that has changed since the last enrollment period, so be sure to log in to the Marketplace and update your information. You’ll need to update this information even if your plan will automatically renew.

Americans who make between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will qualify for assistance with monthly premiums. Those who earn between 100 percent and 250 percent also will qualify for assistance with cost-sharing, such as deductibles and co-payments. The federal poverty level for 2014 is$23,850 for a family of four.

Review Your Coverage and Premiums Before Auto-Renewal

If you have existing health insurance in the Marketplace,you will likely be offered the opportunity to renew with the same coverage for2015. However, it’s important to review your coverage and medical providers in the plan’s network before you simply accept a new term. Changes cannot be made to your Marketplace coverage after February 15, 2015, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, so this is your chance to make changes.

Before renewal, review your monthly premiums to ensure they haven’t changed significantly. Also double check your deductibles and co-payments. Changes in these areas could bring unwelcome surprises in 2015,even if you keep the plan you currently have.

Consider Any Additional Coverage Needs

While your medical needs are covered by your primary plan,services like vision and dental coverage are often not included. You may be able to add these to your coverage package with your current insurer or with another insurer. If you decide you want to be insured for these types of services, contact your insurer and ask what plans might be available or shop on the Marketplace.

Make a Note of Key Deadlines

Although the open enrollment period lasts until February,you must enroll by December 15, 2014, if you want coverage that begins January1. If you are getting new coverage or changing plans, be sure you’re aware of the key deadlines of this year’s enrollment period.

Just as before, there are no deadlines for enrollment in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). These are available all year for those who qualify. However, if you don’t have coverage, you will want to apply as soon as you can so that your medical care can be covered if a need arises.

It’s important to have appropriate coverage so that medical bills don’t strain the family finances. By reviewing these tips and taking the steps needed for your family, you can rest assured that your health insurance needs will be taken care of for 2015.