Open enrollment is here, so it’s time to think about your healthcare coverage. We’ve made it simple by answering the most commonly asked questions below.
When is open enrollment?
- Nov. 1, 2018: Open enrollment begins
- Dec. 15, 2018: Open enrollment ends
- Jan. 1, 2019: Plans sold during open enrollment become effective
The states of California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington D.C. have extended their enrollment period on these dates.
Can I purchase a plan through the Marketplace if insured through my company’s plan?
Yes, you can still purchase a Marketplace plan, but you’ll need to pay full price for it. If your company’s plan fails to meet Marketplace standards, though, you’ll likely qualify for a subsidized plan.
Can I purchase a plan through the Marketplace if I have Medicare?
If you have Medicare, you cannot switch to a Marketplace insurance plan, supplement your coverage with a Marketplace plan or purchase a Marketplace dental plan.
Were there any major healthcare changes made this past year?
Benefit standard changes
Since the establishment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurers in all 50 states were required to meet 10 essential health benefits. For 2019, insurers are allowed to choose from 50 essential health benefits. This gives consumers more flexible plan options, but also more variations among plans. For this reason, It’s imperative to carefully review the coverage offered by any existing and new plans to ensure it meets your needs.
You are no longer required to obtain healthcare coverage
Uninsured Americans will no longer be hit with a tax penalty at the end of the year. If you live in Massachusetts, New Jersey or Washington, D.C., you’ll still be subject to a state-level mandate.
What are qualifying life events?
A qualifying life event allows you to enroll in a new health insurance plan outside open enrollment season. There are four qualifying life events:
- Loss of health coverage, due to job loss, losing qualification for Medicare or Medicaid coverage or aging out of a parents’ plan.
- Household changes, including marriage, divorce, birth, death or adoption.
- Changes in residence. This event is only applicable if you’ve moved to a new region that is outside your previous insurer’s coverage base.
- Other qualifying events such as obtaining U.S. citizenship, freedom from incarceration and joining or leaving the AmeriCorps.
Do I need to apply for Medicare, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) during open enrollment?
If you are newly qualified for Medicaid or CHIP, you can apply for these plans at any time throughout the year. If you are newly qualified for Medicare, though, you do need to apply during a specific enrollment window, beginning on Oct. 15, 2018, and ending on Dec. 7, 2018.