Open Enrollment: Deadlines You Need to Know for 2016

The Affordable Care Act, has made it possible for millions of Americans to get health insurance, many for the first time. If you’re buying health insurance for yourself or your family there is now one time per year that you  can sign up for individual coverage. Individual and family plans can be purchased directly from a private insurance company. You can even sign up directly online at bcbsm.com. It is important to note, this year’s open enrollment period is November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016.

Open enrollment is important because it’s the only time of the year you can change your health care plan or enroll. Once open enrollment ends, the only way to make changes to your coverage is if you have a qualifying event, such as the birth of a child, marriage or divorce.

For 75 years, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been committed to helping Michiganders find the best insurance plan to meet their unique needs. During the open enrollment period, our health plan advisors and licensed agents are ready to work with you one-on-one to enroll in a new plan or renew your existing coverage.

Here are the other important dates and information you need to know about open enrollment:

  • Even if you don’t wish to change plans, you should confirm your selection and verify your information. You will be automatically re-enrolled in the same plan (or a similar one if your current plan won’t be available) for 2016. If you received a federal subsidy in 2015, the amount might be different next year. This is especially true if you’ve added a dependent, changed jobs or have a change to your income this year. Use our subsidy estimator tool to see if you still qualify for a subsidy in 2016 and contact a health plan advisor or agent if you have any questions.
  • Blue Cross offers a wide range of plans and prices to meet your needs. If you’re interested in a less expensive option, we can help. A Blue Cross health plan advisor can work with you to understand your needs and find a plan that best fits your health and financial situation. Need help deciding what level of coverage is best for you? Start here and review this information to help you decide, and once you’re ready to view plans and prices visit us at bcbsm.com/myblue.
  • If you want coverage to begin January 1, 2016, you need to sign up for your new plan by December 15, 2015. You can sign up for a new plan through January 31, 2016, but coverage might start later in the year. And if you don’t have coverage after the deadline of January 31, 2016, you could face a penalty. The penalty is $695 or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is higher. And unless you have a qualifying life event, your next opportunity to buy or change a plan will be the 2017 open enrollment period next fall.

Looking to enroll or modify your current health care plan? Visit us online at bcbsm.com/myblue or contact a health plan advisor at 888-899-4931. If you prefer that face-to-face support, you can stop by one of Blue Cross’ statewide walk-in centers, which have extended hours, including weekends, during open enrollment.

Photo credit: Plantronics Germany