Healthcare insurance open enrollment has arrived – in fact, it’s already well underway – and that means it’s time for millions of Americans to select their healthcare coverage for the following year. If you’re among those millions, you probably have questions about this year’s open enrollment and what steps you need to take to ensure you get the right healthcare coverage for your needs. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.
When does open enrollment for 2016 coverage end?
The last date for the 2016 open enrollment period is January 31, 2016.
When will my coverage start?
If you enroll by December 15, 2016, coverage will begin on January 1, 2016; if you enroll by January 15, coverage will begin on February 1, 2016; and if you enroll by January 31, 2016, your coverage will begin on March 1, 2016.
What if I decide not to choose a coverage option?
If you decide not have medical insurance (and your employer doesn’t already cover you), you can be fined up to 2.5% of your annual income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child under 18, whichever is higher, up to a maximum of $2,085.
What if my coverage needs change during the year?
The insurance you select cannot be changed unless you meet certain exceptions, such as getting married, having a baby or adopting a child, losing health coverage, changing jobs or moving to another state.
What is Medicaid and what is the Medicaid open enrollment period?
Medicaid and the corresponding Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are government-sponsored healthcare programs that provide free or low-cost medical coverage for certain people with low-incomes and limited resources, including families with children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly. Eligibility varies by state. There is no open enrollment period for Medicaid or for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – you can enroll at any time of the year with no penalty. You can find out if you’re eligible by visiting https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/.
What if I have more questions?
You can visit the www.HealthCare.gov website to learn more about the program, or you can give us a call at 209-847-3065 (toll-free 877-590-4826) and we can help you sort through all the details. You can also use the tool at https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/ to find out if there’s an adviser in your area who can meet with you in person to provide assistance.