Things to Know for Open Enrollment 2017

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medical_billing_advocate-122It’s time for Open Enrollment 2017 and it has been talked about heavily in the media. Numerous media outlets reported prior to Open Enrollment that health insurance premiums might increase significantly. This was confirmed as Americans began to peruse the Marketplace site. Some Americans took to social media sites to show proof that their individual premiums would be increasing dramatically.

But it isn’t just Marketplace customers who are seeing price hikes. Many Americans who receive their health insurance benefits through their employer are going to be paying more out of pocket. Numerous employers around the country are finding that insurance costs are increasing. Employees are having to shoulder the extra costs.

Aside from the premium price hikes, which apparently are occurring for various reasons, there is also the problem of fewer provider choices. Many insurance companies no longer participate in some of the Marketplace exchanges, and some states have very few insurance companies for Americans to choose from. In fact, some areas only have a single insurance provider for consumers to choose on the Marketplace. Insurers such as Humana, Aetna and United Healthcare are not participating in many of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges.

Important Dates

However, if you are planning to look for health insurance through the Marketplace, here are some dates that you will want to be familiar with:

 

  • November 1, 2016: The first day of Open Enrollment – Americans can enroll or change an existing insurance plan that was chosen through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • December 15, 2016: This is the deadline to enroll in or change a plan for health insurance coverage if you need your benefits to begin January 1, 2017.
  • January 1, 2017: Your coverage will begin if you met the above December 15 deadline.
  • January 31, 2017: This is the deadline to begin a new health insurance plan through the Marketplace or to change an existing health insurance plan, unless you qualify to enroll under a Special Enrollment Period.

Special Enrollment

You might be eligible to enroll during the Special Enrollment Period for certain events. Losing your health insurance coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby and adopting are qualifying events. You will generally have up to 60 days after any of these events for your Special Enrollment Period.

Open Enrollment for 2017 ends on January 31, 2017 for everyone else. If you would like to explore your options and costs, follow this link to the government website:

https://www.healthcare.gov/

 

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Pat Palmer
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