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Consumer Alert - Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is ongoing through January 31. Commissioner Miller is encouraging consumers who haven’t yet enrolled in a 2017 health plan through the federal marketplace to do so at www.Healthcare.gov.

Though the first month of the year is nearly gone, you can still enroll in a health insurance plan for 2017. Plans purchased up until the enrollment deadline will take effect on March 1.

Although there is a penalty for not having ACA-compliant health insurance, if your coverage lapses for only one or two months, you will not incur the penalty. As long as you enroll in a plan by January 31, you will not pay a penalty for being uninsured. If you buy directly from an insurance company or agent, or through a website other than www.healthcare.gov, make sure that the coverage is ACA-compliant.  Plans that are sold as limited benefit or term health insurance policies are not ACA-compliant.

Additionally, plans available through the federal marketplace provide access to preventive services at no additional cost. Financial assistance is only available for plans purchased on www.Healthcare.gov, however in some areas, off-exchange plans may be less expensive for those who do not qualify for subsidies. Again, be aware that some off-exchange plans are not ACA-compliant and will trigger a tax penalty. 

PID has developed a plan comparison tool with Consumers’ Checkbook that allows consumers to compare estimated yearly out-of-pocket costs, overall quality of plans, and doctor and prescription drug availability.The Insurance Department also has a printable shopper’s guide and videos in English and Spanish for consumers looking for additional information on how to purchase health insurance. In-person help is also available through licensed insurance agents and health insurance navigators.

After you have enrolled in a plan, make sure to pay your first month’s premium, as this will initiate your coverage. Once your payment is received and your coverage is active, you can start going to health care provider, picking up prescriptions, and know that your healthcare is covered.

For more information on health insurance or to contact the Insurance Department’s Bureau of Consumer Services, visit our health page or call 1-877-881-6388.