On Tuesday, November 1st, 2015 the fourth Health Insurance Open Enrollment will begin. Millions of Americans will begin to explore their options for affordable health care. Whether you are the savvy shopper who’s ready to log in or the procrastinator who will wait to enroll on the very last day, there are some important facts that everyone should know and consider going into Open Enrollment.
The 2017 Health Insurance Open Enrollment starts on November 1st, 2016 and ends on January 31st, 2017. To have a January 1st, 2017 effective date you must enroll by December 15th, 2016.
If you are currently enrolled in a Health Insurance plan through the Marketplace then you have been receiving notifications letting you know of the upcoming Open Enrollment period. You may have received emails, phone calls, or direct mail giving you instructions on what to do.
Here are some things to consider
- 2017 Plans and prices will be different from previous years.
- We strongly recommend that you update your expected income and household information for 2017 – and check out new insurance plans and prices. You need to update your income and household information even if you want to keep your current health care plan. It’s the only way to be sure that your premium tax credit for 2017 is accurate.
- If you don’t act by December 15th, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled for January 1st – but your premium tax credit will be based on last year’s information or on information the Marketplace has from other sources. You might be automatically enrolled with no tax credit.
- In some cases, you won’t be automatically re-enrolled. You’ll need to take action by December 15th to stay covered on January 1st, 2017.
Why it's critical to update & compare for 2017
- Plans and prices change every year. You may find a new health care plan that’s more affordable or that work’s better for you, especially if your expected 2017 income or household information will change.
- If you don’t update your information for 2017, you might end up with an outdated premium tax credit – or even a plan you’re not eligible for. That’s why it’s so important to update your Marketplace application with any income and household changes that you expect for 2017 – even if you want to keep your current health plan.
- Remember: Premium tax credits and other savings are based on the income and household information you expect for 2017, not 2016 information.
- If you don’t update, you could pay more each month than you need to, or take a higher advanced payment of premium tax credit than you qualify for. If that happens, you’ll have to pay back some or all of it when you file your federal taxes.
- What happens if you can afford health insurance but you choose not to buy it, you must pay a fee or have a health coverage exemption. (The fee is sometimes called the “penalty,” “fine,” “individual responsibility payment,” or “individual mandate.”)
- If you don’t have health insurance in 2017, you’ll pay the higher of these two amounts:
- 2.5% of your yearly household income (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,350 for an individual in 2017, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a Bronze plan.
- $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18) The maximum penalty per family using this method is $2,085.
Millions of Americans have enrolled in health care plans since the inception of the Affordable Care Act. Consider the facts, explore the options, and enroll or re-enroll during the 2017 Health Insurance Open Enrollment.
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