What You Need To Know About Your Health Plan Renewal

Open Enrollment and your health plan

It's that exciting time of year again - time to evaluate your insurance options.

Here's a quick overview of the various plan options available. You can skim ahead to what you need to know for you, your family, or your business.

Keep in mind that California tends to go their own way when it comes to federal deadlines, so be sure to check the regulations in your state.

Individual and Family Plans

We can help you apply for an individual or family insurance plan through Covered California aka Obamacare (on the exchange and receive subsidies) or directly with an insurance company (no financial assistance).

Open enrollment runs from October 15th, 2018 to January 15th, 2019.

If you enroll between October 15th, 2018 and December 15th, 2018 your effective date of coverage will be January 1st, 2019.

Consumers signing up between December 16th, 2018 and January 15th, 2019 will have a February 1, 2019 effective date.

During open enrollment, you can renew your existing plan, change plans or enroll in a brand new one.

Dates are often subject to change so act as early as you can - and check CoveredCA.com or message us with questions.

You may also apply for health insurance when you have a qualifying life event.

Qualifying Life Events

According to Covered California, "A qualified life event is a circumstance that has occurred within the last 60 days. The 60 days are counted from the date the application is submitted. Some of the most common life events are: involuntary loss of health insurance, permanently moved to/within California, had a baby, and got married."

You can read more about that here.

Small Business Plans

Businesses with 1 - 100 employees can enroll in a new health plan any time of the year if they meet certain requirements. You can message us here if you want to see if you qualify to enroll.

Companies can enroll through Obamacare (aka "SHOP") to receive potential tax credits with their new group plan - or we can enroll small and medium sized businesses directly with a carrier.

If a company elects to go through SHOP, there are often special enrollment periods to help those that don't meet participation or contribution guidelines directly with the carriers. For these cases, message us to see if your business can qualify - and please note that all documents must be submitted before December 15th, 2018, for a January 1st, 2019, effective date.

Group Renewals

This is the time of year when your company's health insurance plans can be changed or updated. Plans offered through an employer have different renewal dates. Employees who have coverage now will want to check with their HR department to find out when they can change plans.

For those who want to dig in further and know what to expect with employer health plans in 2019, here's a great article from Kimberly Lankford at Kiplinger:

Medicare Plans For Seniors

Initial Enrollment periods

You can enroll in Medicare Parts A, B, C and D during the Initial Enrollment Period. This includes:

  • The 3 months before you turn 65
  • The month of your 65th birthday
  • The 3 months after your 65th birthday

Your coverage will start no sooner than your birthday month.

Open Enrollment

If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can also enroll during Special Enrollment, General Enrollment, and Open Enrollment periods. During Open Enrollment, you can change your Medicare plan if you already have one (but you cannot upgrade without providing evidence of insurability).

Open Enrollment runs each year from October 15th to December 7th

Know your doctors and medications - it will help us to help you decide which plan to get. You can message us here with any questions on Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare supplement plans.

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Final Thoughts

Please plan ahead if you want to make changes. Waiting until the last minute can cause unnecessary stress and billing issues. We're here to help you explore your options and arm you with the knowledge you need to make the best financial decisions on healthcare decisions.