Last year, more than eight million people enrolled in a health plan that was compliant with the Affordable Care Act. If you’re one of these people, it’s the time of year to review your plan again and decide if you need to make a change.
Here’s what you need to know:
- There are new plan options, so shop around. Blue Cross more than doubled its product choices– from 18 to 41– to address consumer requests for new options to meet a broader spectrum of health and financial needs. Make a list of what health care services you used last year, and see if there’s a plan that might be a better fit. When comparing costs, make sure you look at total costs, not just the monthly payment.
- If you received financial help, your need to update your information on HealthCare.gov. Starting on November 15, you can visit HealthCare.gov and log into your Marketplace account. Your 2015 application will be pre-filled, but you’ll have to click through each page and make a few updates to your financial and dependant information. Small changes can make a big difference, and you might be eligible for lower costs than last year.
- You need to take action by December 15. While the open enrollment period lasts for three months, you only have until December 15 to ensure continuous coverage. Missing this date will result in a coverage gap – leaving you vulnerable to health and financial risks. If you don’t enroll by December 15, you will be enrolled automatically in a same or similar plan.
- If you opt for automatic enrollment, you might be penalized at tax time. Since automatic enrollment can’t account for changes in household income or family size, you might receive the incorrect level of financial help. To avoid being impacted at tax time – make sure you update your information.
- Personal help is available. More than 600 health plan advisors (1-855-237-3501) are on the phones Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to answer questions and help people enroll in plans. Blue Cross also has walk-in centers throughout the state with customer service representatives, health plan advisors and licensed Blue Cross agents. Additional resources include:
- HealthCareReformBasics.com/preparetobuy: This website will walk you through the steps necessary to enroll in a health plan, as well as help you gather the information you will need when signing up.
- Text for Subsidy: Before shopping for a plan, you can text “4Subsidy” to 222-752 for an estimate on what financial assistance may be available. This will help you figure out your budget for health insurance.
- Health Insurance 101: Get help choosing and using your health insurance by exploring the tips and tricks in our Health Insurance 101 section of this blog.
For more health insurance tips visit bcbsm.com/101 or follow the hashtag #Covered101 on our social channels. If you have a specific question, please submit your query online through our Customer Action Center.
Photo: Ben Raynal