When you bought your health insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you knew you wouldn’t have to think about it again for a while. Recently, you may have received a notice reminding you that Open Enrollment starts on November 1. That means it’s time for you to review your plan and figure out whether there are any changes you need to make for next year. Let us show you the five easy steps you need to know to make sure you’re covered through the Marketplace in 2017.
When you receive the annual letter from your health insurance provider explaining any changes to your current health coverage plan in the coming year, check to make sure you’re still getting the right plan for you. Insurance companies can make changes annually that affect your premiums or how cost-sharing works, as well as which benefits and services they provide. Review your coverage to be sure that your current plan still meets your needs.
You can log into your Marketplace account at HealthCare.gov when Open Enrollment starts on November 1. You’ll have to answer a few questions, then you can move on to your Marketplace application, which will be filled out for you using your 2016 information if you have an existing HealthCare.gov account and enrolled in health insurance last year. Check over your application, step by step, page by page. If you need to make any changes, now is the time to do it. You need to know that you may be eligible for lower costs than you were last year – even if none of your information has changed.
There may be another plan that is a better fit for your health insurance needs, or there could be more affordable healthcare plans in your area that weren’t available to you last year. While you’re logged into your Marketplace account, you can follow the “Enroll To Do List” to compare the health plans available to you in 2017.
When you’re finished comparing your options, it’s time to decide whether you want to keep your existing coverage (assuming it’s still being offered) or select a new plan that better suits your specific healthcare needs. If you decide that you want to remain enrolled in your current plan, just use your current plan’s 14-digit ID – you can find it in the letter you received from your health plan.
Finally, you’ll enroll in the healthcare coverage plan you’ve chosen for 2017. For your coverage to begin on January 1, you have to enroll by December 15. You can change your 2017 plan after the December deadline at any time during Open Enrollment, which continues through January 31. Keep in mind that if you enroll in a new health plan after December 15, your coverage won’t start on January 1. Check with your health plan provider to find out when your new coverage will start.
You can download this explanation of the five coverage steps from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and you can always call the Marketplace Call Center at (800) 304-3414 if you want to make updates or review your coverage, or if you just need help.