Choosing to purchase health insurance is one of the best decisions you can make. Not only does being covered protect you from paying higher medical costs, but it also covers important preventive care services such as health screenings and vaccinations for yourself and your family. But deciding to get health insurance isn’t the only choice you need to make. You also need to decide where to purchase it from—a process that can be confusing and intimidating. Here are your options: Through your employer: Many employers offer group medical coverage as a benefit to their employees. Smaller companies (two to 49 employees) are not required by the Affordable Care Act to provide health insurance, while large group employers (50 or more employees) are required to offer coverage or they must pay a penalty. Contact your company’s Human Resources department to learn more about their health care options and how to sign up. On your own: You may need to purchase health insurance on your own if your employer doesn’t offer insurance, you work for yourself or you’re currently unemployed. You’ll need to sign up for a plan during open enrollment, which begins November 1, 2016, and runs through January 31, 2017. Enroll by December 15, 2016, for coverage that begins on January 1, 2017. You have three ways to sign up:
- The Health Insurance Marketplace is a place to find plans that cover essential health benefits, preventive care and pre-existing conditions. See if you qualify for a subsidy, which can help you save money on your monthly premiums.
- You can buy directly through a private insurance company, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. You might find that you have more options if you buy a plan this way compared to through the marketplace. To learn about Blue Cross’ 2017 plans, click here or call 1-855-237-3501.
- You can also have an agent assist you in the process. Agents can thoroughly explain your health care options and help you apply. Click here to speak with an agent who can help find the best option for you and your family.
Through the government: For some people—like those on a limited income, people with certain health issues, or anyone over the age of 65 - you might be eligible for a federally funded health plan like Medicare or Medicaid. Visit our Medicare page or Healthcare.gov to find out if you are eligible and to apply. Know that you are not alone in the health insurance purchase process. Visit these blogs for more information and tips:
- 5 Questions to Ask When Enrolling in a Health Plan
- PPO vs. HMO: What’s the Difference?
- How to Talk to Your Employer About Health Care Options
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