Today is the official start of open enrollment in the individual health insurance market.
If you are enrolled with our assistance, or are new to the market, you have until Dec. 15 to enroll in a plan for the 2017 policy year.
However if you miss that first deadline and sign up between Dec. 16 and Jan. 15, 2017, your coverage will start Feb. 1, 2017. And if you enroll between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31, 2017, your coverage will start March 1, 2017.
People who qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can enroll at any time of the year. These are state-federal programs for people with limited incomes or disabilities.
The process of choosing a plan that suits you requires some homework and your attention as it can make a difference between purchasing more coverage than you need and buying a policy that won’t meet your needs.
The “individual mandate” portion of the Affordable Care Act requires that most individuals carry health insurance. If you are not currently receiving coverage from another source (your job, through your spouse’s job or through Medicare or Medicaid), you should participate in this open enrollment period.
If you already have insurance, now is the time that you can renew your policy if you are happy with what it provides in terms of coverage and the cost. Or you can shop around for another plan that may better suit your needs.
Remember: If you miss open enrollment you could be forced to wait a year to sign up again and you could incur an IRS penalty for not securing coverage.
If you have any questions about open enrollment, feel free to contact CoreMark Insurance Services.