The Health Insurance Marketplace is gearing up for the third open enrollment period beginning November 1, 2015 and ending on January 31, 2016. Are you ready? Would you like some help?
Through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) you will be able to apply, compare options and find out if you are income eligible for assistance to lower premiums and reduce out-of-pocket cost – similar to last year. There are some changes; three of the five plans will provide coverage to all 26 hospitals in the State of NH and several plans will also offer some degree of multi-state coverage.
The Health Insurance Marketplace will continue to offer premium tax credits to help reduce the monthly insurance premiums. The amount of the credit is calculated based on your income and household size. The credit can either be applied to reduce your monthly premium or received when you file your income tax return. It is your choice! Additionally, your income level and household size may also qualify you for cost sharing reductions in out-of-pocket expenses like co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance. It is important to keep your income and family size updated in the Marketplace to ensure you are receiving all the cost-saving measures you are entitled to.
The ACA resulted in the formation of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, (NHHPP). NHHPP contracts with several insurance companies providing health care insurance to approximately 50,000 families and individuals in New Hampshire who, prior to the ACA, were not eligible or couldn’t afford insurance. By using Healthcare.gov or nheasy.nh.gov, you can easily find out if you are eligible for reduced-cost or free insurance through this program, thus keeping your health insurance as affordable as possible. If you are already enrolled in the NHHPP, as of December 31, 2015 you will also participate in the Premium Assistance Program unless you are Medically Frail or receive health insurance through your employer and already participate in the Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP). Enrollment will begin on November 1, 2015. Coverage will begin January 1, 2016.
Whether you are new to the Marketplace or re-enrolling go to Healthcare.gov; the insurance carriers will continue to have Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans for you to compare, but remember only Silver plans will reflect any income eligible savings in the form of premium and cost sharing reductions. Changes to income and family size need to be reported through the Marketplace and can affect cost by causing adjustments to cost sharing reductions and/or advance premium tax credits, both in the premiums you pay as well as your overall out-of-pocket cost which is why it is important to review your options each year After you’ve reviewed your options, you may decide to keep your current plan and if you’ve had no income or household size changes, you don’t need to do anything else and your current insurance company and the Marketplace will send you renewal information around Nov. 1st.
Get a head start by updating or creating an account on Healthcare.gov now, then the only thing left to do during open enrollment (November 1st, 2015 – January 31st, 2016) will be to select a plan.
If you have any questions, the call center at Healthcare.gov is free and always available at 800-318-2596. If you would like someone to help you explore your options, Mid-State offers assistance to the community at no cost at its offices in Bristol and Plymouth. Mid-State is also offering Marketplace assistance in a variety of outreach locations in the region including Bristol, Lincoln, New Hampton, Warren, Ashland, Wentworth, Groton, Alexandria and Plymouth. Just call 603-536-4000 x 1450 to get started.
Between November 1st and January 31st, Mid-State will host several enrollment fairs throughout the region:
Warren Joseph Patch Library Saturday, November 7th 10:30 am- 12:30pm
Plymouth Mid-State Health Center Saturday, November 14th 9:00 am- 1:00 pm
Bristol Mid-State Health Center Saturday, December 5th 9:00 am- 1:00 pm
Lincoln Lincoln Public Library Saturday, January 9th 10:30 am-1:30 pm
Make window shopping for health insurance a priority this holiday season, whether online, at an outreach location or an enrollment fair. Get connected, ask questions, and then make an informed choice, it is really that easy! Let health insurance and the security it provides be the gift you give yourself and your family; have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!