Now that the Health Insurance Marketplace has opened, you may wonder how it applies to you and what actions you need to take. With all the conflicting information swirling around, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But, don’t let that keep you from getting educated and making the best insurance decision for you and your family.
A good place to begin your research is by visiting Healthcare.gov. This site has an abundance of information, so here are the top three things you need to know.
How You Qualify
Anyone can purchase their health insurance through the marketplace. Those who are currently uninsured will be matched with the best type of plan based on their household size and income. These range from standard private insurance and reduced-cost private insurance to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Even if you’re eligible for health insurance through your employer, you can purchase your own insurance through the marketplace if you choose to.
How To Enroll
To purchase a plan, or even to shop for the best rate, you first have to determine if your state operates its own marketplace or if it has deferred to the federal government. You can find out by obtaining your state information from the federal marketplace. Once you’re at the right marketplace, you can proceed with the enrollment process. Some specific information is required in the application, so you will want to ensure you’ve gathered all the necessary documents before you begin. If you need help, you can contact trained local organizations or get assistance directly from marketplace representatives.
When Coverage Begins
If you enroll by Dec. 15, 2013, coverage can start as early as Jan. 1, 2014. However, open enrollment closes on March 31, 2014, and most people without health insurance after that point will be penalized and charged a fee. The fee will start at $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, or 1% of your family income, whichever is more, and continue to grow each year.
Don’t let confusion or a lack of knowledge keep you from understanding your insurance options. With the deadline only five months away, you need to begin your decision process now so you’re not too late and faced with penalty fees.