The new open enrollment period for healthcare coverage through the marketplace in 2015 began on November 15th and runs through February 15th. If you want coverage starting January 1st, however, you must be enrolled by December 15th! During open enrollment, you can apply for, keep, or change your coverage. The federal government has assured consumers who are already enrolled in a plan that their coverage will be automatically renewed for the coming year. But advocates urge that consumers double-check and log in to their Healthcare.gov account - or their state-based marketplace account - once open enrollment begins. Double-checking your coverage will also give you an opportunity to "shop around" and see if there are any better plans available for you, as many premiums have changed substantially this year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services tells re-enrolling consumers that 90 percent of their online application is already filled out, making the process easier than last year. In addition, 1,000 more call center operators will be available this year.
Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the penalty for being uninsured will rise next year to $325/adult, or 2 percent of your yearly income, whichever is greater.
If you're still weighing the options available to you and your family in 2015, here are a few resources that may help guide you:
- Healthcare.gov's Application and Enrollment Overview is a great place to start.
- Trained, certified navigators will once again be available to assist consumers in all states with healthcare enrollment. Find local assistance here.
- AccessBetterCoverage.org is a new site launched in October by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), to help consumers understand how health insurance works. The site offers videos explaining basic concepts, a glossary of terms, news updates and more.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation offers many resources to help consumers understand their options, including a premium estimate calculator and state-based information.
- Families USA delves deeper into current health insurance issues and features the latest news coverage, blogs, briefs and more.
If you have a story to share about how the Affordable Care Act has impacted your family, please let us know!