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Open Enrollment 2016 dates and how to shop for health insurance

healthInsThe dead line to get new health insurance or to change an existing plan for the year 2016 is fast approaching. With so many options to consider and a mountain of data to look through, don’t wait until the last minute.  It could take you a week just to look at all the plans available. This quick guide will help you get through the high level details. Here’s what to consider when looking for insurance for individual or family plans.

Employer Insurance

Employer insurance should be looked at carefully. Plans change all the time and not just the cost. Make sure you look at the out-of-pocket expenses like copay’s, deductibles and coinsurance. Also look at your provider list to see if you Doctors are still included. These factors can affect you decision on renewing your Employer Insurance.

Think about prescription coverage. Always look at your current needs and try and plan out what you will need for the year. Prescription coverage’s change too, so don’t be left without a covered drug.

Pay attention to wellness programs offered. Employers are caring more about their employees and making sure they are healthy and fit, as this affects their bottom line as well. Programs like stop smoking, weight loss and lifestyle changes can help you live a better and healthier lifestyle. So take advantage of these programs.

 

Important Dates and Deadlines

December 15, 2015 – Last day to enroll in or change coverage that will start on January 1st, 2016.

January 15, 2016 – Last day to enroll in or change coverage that will start February 1st 2016.

January 31,2016 – Open Enrollment Ends.

 

Marketplace Health insurance

Understand your tiers. There are four tiers to choose from and each offer different levels of out of pocket expense and percentage of coverage. As a rule of thumb, Bronze covers 60 percent of you care, Silver 70%, Gold 80% and Platinum 90%. All plans cover the 10 essential medical care requirements; Emergency Services, Hospitalization, Maternity and newborn care, Mental Health and substance-use services, Prescription drugs, physical and occupational therapy, lab tests, preventive care services and Pediatric services which include dental and vision.

Get Help if you need it. The government pays people to help consumers select the insurance they need. Trained assisters can be found in almost every city and town.

Understanding your options and subsidies can reduce your overall premiums. Make sure you fill out your application with as much accurate information as possible. People earning income between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level get help for paying for their insurance as long as it is an eligible plan purchased through the marketplace.

Understand the penalties of not having insurance. Depending on your income, you could be paying 2.5% of your income or $695 per adult not insured. There are options for young healthy individuals such as the catastrophic plan. These include very low premiums but very large out of pocket expenses for health care.

With the deadline just around the corner, don’t wait and risk not getting insurance. There are a lot of options to consider, research that needs to be done on your part and possibly arranging a sit down with an official assister.

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