Open enrollment periods are shorter this year than years prior. Open enrollment for individual 2018 health insurance begins November 1, 2017 and ends December 15, 2017. This is your annual opportunity to purchase or change individual health insurance coverage. If you sign up during the open enrollment period, you are covered as of January 1, 2018.
There have been proposals to eliminate the penalty for those who go without compliant coverage, but as of now, the penalty is still in effect. Amounts have not been set for 2018 yet.
As was the case in 2016 and 2017, health plans are not medically underwritten (everyone is accepted) and plans must cover the 10 essential services that the ACA prescribes. Plan premiums have risen for the new year, ranging from 8% to 24% with the greatest increases in plans sold on-exchange. The HMO Bronze plan continues to be the lowest cost plan available in 2017. If you were enrolled in the PPO Bronze Reserve in 2017, you may have received a notice of cancellation. Independence is still offering HSA-modeled plans in 2018: the EPO Silver Reserve and the EPO Bronze Reserve.
If you already have an individual or family health plan, this is the time to make changes to your coverage. You can only enroll for coverage at other times if you qualify for a special enrollment period (for example: if you lose other health coverage). If your income is low enough, you may qualify for tax credits that will reduce the cost of health care coverage. To qualify for tax credits, you must make application at the Federal Marketplace website. If you do not qualify for tax credits, you do not need to seek coverage from the Federal Marketplace. You can purchase coverage directly from the insurance carriers who participate.
NOTE: If you currently have a plan you purchased through the marketplace, we strongly recommend you take the time to update your application for the new year. You may qualify for additional tax credits to offset the increased 2018 rates.
We have agents that are qualified to help you enroll in a health insurance program on or off the Federal Marketplace. Contact Randy Riegner, Brad Riegner, Blake Kneeland, or Debbie Rotenberger (Tue./Wed. only) for help and answers to questions.