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Navigating the Public Exchanges

It’s that time of year again: open enrollment for the health insurance marketplaces! As of November 1, 2015, individuals and families are able to reenroll, change plans or sign up for new coverage for 2016. To help you through the process, we’ve compiled some practical tips for navigating the public exchanges.

Know Your Deadlines  

First things first: there are some important deadlines you should know, upfront. Make sure to plan ahead and meet these dates.

  • November 1, 2015: Open Enrollment opens.
  • December 15, 2015: Last date to enroll or change healthcare plans for a coverage start date of January 1, 2016.
  • January 15, 2015: Last date to enroll or change healthcare plans for a coverage start date of February 1, 2016.
  • January 31, 2016: Open Enrollment closes.

November 2015

First Time Enrolling

The Health Insurance Marketplace is available to individuals and families that do not have health insurance through another source (ie employer, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, etc.). With few exceptions, most people must have qualifying health insurance or pay a penalty with their 2016 taxes.  So, making sure you have health coverage is doubly important!

If it’s your first time enrolling in the public marketplaces, you can get started on Healthcare.gov. For your application, you’ll need to have some basic information ready:

  1. Address(es)
  2. Social Security numbers
  3. Employer/income information for every member of your household
  4. 2016 income estimate
  5. Current health insurance plan policy numbers

For a more detailed list, check out Healthcare.gov’s handy checklist.

It’s important to note:  even if you have employer-sponsored insurance, you can still purchase health coverage through the Marketplace. If you’re exploring alternatives to the plans offered by your employer, keep in mind you will pay full price for plans on the marketplace.

Determine If You’re Eligible for a Tax Credit

Many families save on their monthly healthcare premium with a premium tax credit. The amount deducted monthly is based on your 2016 household income. This amount is sent to your insurance company so your premium bill is reduced each month. Determine your eligibility by vising Healthcare.gov.

Have a Question? We Can Help!

Healthcare can be tough and selecting a plan that suits your family’s needs is a big decision. We can help! Comment below with you questions.

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