If you’re under 65 and don’t have an insurance through your employer, now is the time to enroll in health insurance for 2015. From now until Feb. 15, 2015, you’ll be able to shop for benefits and enroll in a health plan that meets your health and financial needs.
Whether or not you’re new to this process, here are some tips that will help you have best possible experience:
1) Sign up early: The open enrollment period – which ends on Feb. 15, 2015 – is half as long as last year’s (three months instead of six). However, the deadline for coverage effective Jan. 1, 2015 is Dec. 15, 2014, giving you only one month to enroll.
As that Dec. 15 deadline approaches, wait times to enroll in coverage will increase. Last year, Blue Cross enrolled nearly 20,000 members the week leading into the Christmas Holiday and over 26,000 the week after. Avoid the last-minute rush by shopping and enrolling early on.
2) Estimate your subsidy eligibility: You can get a subsidy estimate on bcbsm.com, or by texting “4Subsidy” to 222-752. This will help you determine your budget when shopping for plans.
3) Explore your options: Start to shop around on bcbsm.com/myblue to get an idea of various coverage levels. There’s no “best” health plan – everyone’s needs are differences. Not sure how to compare plans? Learn what to look for to get the most value.
4) Collect your information: To expedite your enrollment process, have the following before you call to enroll:
- Subsidy estimate
- Primary care doctor(s) name and address
- Household income
- Birth date(s) and social security numbers of everyone who will be on the plan
5) Get one-on-one help: In addition to the more than 6,000 BCBSM agents statewide, BCBSM has nearly 600 health plan advisors (855-237-3501) on the phones from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, to help members and consumers sign up or renew health plans. Make sure you set aside at least 30 minutes for the call to ensure you have time to get your questions answered and can complete an application. If you’d prefer in-person help, you can visit any one of our walk-in centers throughout Michigan.
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 Credit: Eunice