Health insurance Medicaid Your Coverage Options

It’s time to enroll in a health plan if you are under 65

Written by Diane Archer
Open enrollment in state health exchanges begins on November 15 and lasts through February 15.  You can enroll in a health plan or switch health plans even if you have costly health care needs.  Health plans cannot cancel your coverage if you need costly health care. Here are four things to keep in mind:
  1. Help with premiums: If your income is no more than four times the federal poverty level (between $11,670 and $46,680 for an individual or $23,850 and $95,400 for a family of four), you are eligible for help with the premiums.
  2.  Automatic reenrollment: If you have health insurance through an exchange and do nothing, you will be reenrolled in the same health plan.  But, if you’re smart, you’ll visit to see whether there are any new plans in your area and what your current health plan is offering in terms of costs and benefits as compared to other health plans in your area.  Read these tips for choosing a health plan.
  3. Expanded Medicaid eligibility: If your income is at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,105 for an individual and $32,913 for a family of four) in many states you are likely eligible for Medicaid
  4. Penalty if you go without health insurance: If you did not have insurance in 2014 or if you don’t have insurance in 2015, you will pay a penalty when you file your federal taxes.  In 2014, the penalty is $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is higher.  In 2015, the penalty is $395 or 2% of your income, whichever is higher.

If you enroll after the 15th of the month, your coverage will not begin until a month and a half later.  If you enroll between the 1st and 15th of the month, your coverage will begin on the 1st of the following month. For more information, check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Consumer Guide.

If you like this post, you might also like these:
Four tips for keeping your costs down in a private health plan or Medicare Advantage plan
A crash course in five important health insurance terms


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