This article was last edited on Oct. 14, 2015. For updated information on the marketplace, visit this post.
Open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace begins Nov. 1. It’s the first day you can enroll in a 2016 insurance plan through the marketplace. If you plan to enroll, re-enroll or change insurance plans for 2016, you can start preparing now so you are ready when open enrollment kicks off. Remember, the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance or pay a penalty.
Plans and prices for 2016 should be released by late October, according to the federal government. You can check www.healthcare.gov to review the plans when they are released. Meanwhile, here are some tips to help you understand the marketplace and the steps you need to take.
- The marketplace is for people who don’t have insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or another source for qualifying coverage.
- Coverage begins Jan. 1 for those who enroll or change plans by Dec. 15.
- Open enrollment ends Jan. 31. If you apply between Dec. 15 and Jan. 15, your coverage starts Feb. 1. If you apply between Jan. 15 and the end of open enrollment, coverage takes effect March 1.
- Update your income and household information, even if you will keep your current health plan. Premium tax credits and other savings are based on your expected income for 2016, not the prior year.
- Plans and prices change every year. Check for updates because you may find one that’s more affordable or works better for you.
- If you don’t have coverage in 2016, you’ll pay a penalty of 2.5 percent of your income or $695 per adult – whichever is higher.
- You will need lots of personal information and documentation to apply. View a checklist to gather items in advance.
Open enrollment is right around the corner! Check out your options and be ready when it gets here.