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Open Enrollment for Health Insurance

You may have heard the term “open enrollment” and it probably confused and intimidated you. However, you do have something to be glad about. If the term open enrollment makes you anxious, you already know a lot more than most American consumers because you are at least aware of the fact that health insurance plans have these periods of open enrollment. Typically, if you get your health insurance from your employer at least, the open enrollment period happens only once a year, most of the time in December, November, and October. In 2014, the open enrollment period for Medicare was from October 15 to December 7. The open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare) began November 15. According to recent polls, 90% of uninsured Americans don’ know when the next open enrollment period for the marketplace insurance purchased under the Affordable Care Act begins. Over half of uninsured Americans don’t know that low to moderate income people may get financial assistance that helps them to purchase insurance. The open enrollment period for marketplace policies started on November 15 in 2014 and will end on February 15, 2015. This window of time is optimal for renewing, changing, and purchasing insurance policies. But keep in mind that if you lose your employee health insurance after the period ends you may still apply for a new policy at any time of the year. If you need to purchase your own insurance you can feel a little better from the fact that a recent poll has showed that most Americans who have previously bought insurance through the marketplace give their coverage good marks. 74% of the newly insured rated the quality of their healthcare coverage as either excellent or good. 71% of the newly insured also said the same about the healthcare they received. The satisfaction levels were either the same or better than the average insured American.


Renewing Marketplace Health Insurance

If you’ve recently enrolled in a new coverage in 2014, you will probably be renewed in either your plan or a similar plan in 2015. Keep in mind that even though this happens automatically, it is still very important to update your household information and income and check for any increase in costs – you wouldn’t like it if they increased the price you had to pay without you even noticing first! Remember to always check whether any medications that you may take will still be covered next year and look to see if they will still cost the same amount as the previous year. If you begin to take any new medications or have other unforeseen health changes you’ll need to prepare and make sure that your current health care plan will still cover what you need covered and just generally check that your current plan is still the best plan for you. If you’d like to change plans, remember to do so in open enrollment in the winter. If your current health plan has been cancelled, you can call a hotline (1-866-837-0677) that will connect you to a representative that will help you to find new coverage.

Rate Increased for 2015

In November 2014, the federal government released data that suggested that prices for some policies that were purchased from the state or federal marketplace will increase drastically for 2015. Some experts estimate that the increase could be as high as 20%. But for people who are willing to shop around for a cheaper and littler increase it could be as small as 4% or 5%. The New York Times analyzed that premium increases were going to be the largest in areas where there were less health insurance plans available. The good news is that about 25% more insurers will be participating in the marketplace for 2015, which will give consumers a choice of an average of about 40 different plans. About 90% of all applicants will have at least three different competing insurers to choose from. However most applicants don’t believe that reports of statewide or national premium changes are more important than the details for specific particular plans that the individual is considering. If you recently purchased health insurance from the marketplace in 2014, you will probably want to compare 2015 place and prices to your current coverage before you decide if you want to change plans (enroll in a different one) or stay with the current plan that you chose.

Even if you think that you’re perfectly happy with your current marketplace health insurance, you should always shop around in 2015 for possible new options for health insurance. Experts believe that the rates of some policies will soar, while the increases for others will be quite small, so you don’t want to take the chance of not checking and find that your plan was one of the ones that soared to an outrageous price. Always remember to update your household information and your income so that your tax credits may be accurately calculated.