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The original item was published from 11/4/2015 4:15:52 PM to 2/1/2016 12:00:06 AM.

News Flash

City of Charleston News Flash

Posted on: November 4, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace

Better health insurance choices
The Health Insurance Marketplace is a way to find health coverage that fits your budget and meets your needs. With one application, you can see all your options and enroll. You can apply for private insurance, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Every health plan in the Marketplace offers the same set of essential health benefits, including doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization, prescriptions, and more. You can compare plans based on price, benefits, quality, and other features important to you before you make a choice.

Insurance plans run by private companies
Insurance plans offered through the Marketplace are run by private companies. No matter where you live, you’ll be able to compare your health coverage options in the Marketplace and see what your premium, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs will be before you make a decision to enroll.

There are protections for you and your family. Insurance plans can’t deny you coverage because of pre-existing or chronic conditions like cancer or diabetes, and they can’t charge women and men different premiums.

Get a break on costs
When you use the Marketplace you may be able to get a tax credit to lower costs on your monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. When you apply, you’ll find out how much you can save. Most people who apply will qualify for some kind of savings.

Explore the Marketplace
Visit HealthCare.gov to get answers to your questions and sign up for e-mail updates about the Marketplace. You can also call the Health Insurance Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.

You can go to the Marketplace and apply for health coverage, compare all your options, and enroll in a plan.

Open Enrollment for 2016 coverage begins November 1, 2015 and ends January 31, 2016. Enroll by December 15 so your new coverage starts January 1.


5 tips about the Health Insurance Marketplace

If you haven’t applied for insurance on HealthCare.gov before, here’s what you need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as the health insurance "exchange" or “Obamacare exchange”).

1. The Health Insurance Marketplace is for people who don’t have health coverage

If you don’t have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.

  • If you have job-based insurance: You can buy a plan through the Marketplace, but you’ll pay full price unless your employer’s insurance doesn’t meet certain standards. Most job-based plans do meet the standards.
  • If you have Medicare: You can’t switch to Marketplace insurance, supplement your coverage with a Marketplace plan, or buy a Marketplace dental plan. Learn about Medicare and the Marketplace.

2. What you pay for insurance depends on your income

Your savings depend on your estimate of your expected income for 2016, not your income for 2015. Get a quick idea if your expected income is in the range to save.

Based on the income estimate you put on your application, we’ll tell you if you qualify for one of these:

A health insurance plan with savings
Most people who apply qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers their monthly insurance bill. Some also save on out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments.

The plans are offered by private insurance companies with a range of prices and features. All plans cover:
  • Essential health benefits
  • Pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy
  • Preventive care

You can add dental to a health plan, but you don’t have to. You can’t buy a dental plan unless you enroll in a health plan.

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of people and families with limited income, disabilities, and some other situations.
  • Many states are expanding Medicaid to cover all households below certain incomes. See if your state is expanding and if your income is in range to qualify.
  • Your children may qualify for CHIP even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.

3. You can apply for coverage 4 ways

You can apply for health insurance any way that works for you:
  • Online
  • By phone
  • With in-person help
  • With a paper application

4. If you don’t have health insurance, you may have to pay a fee

Most people must have qualifying health coverage or pay a fee with their 2016 federal taxes.
  • If you don’t have coverage in 2016, you’ll pay a penalty of either 2.5% of your income, or $695 per adult ($347.50 per child) — whichever is higher. Learn about the fee.
  • In some cases, you might qualify for an exemption from the requirement to have health insurance.

5. Apply now. Act by December 15 for coverage starting January 1, 2016

You can apply right now. Enroll by December 15 and your coverage can start January 1, 2016. After January 31, 2016, you can’t buy a health insurance plan for the rest of 2016 unless you have a life change — like having a baby, getting married, or losing other health coverage — that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period. Visit Healthcare.gov to:
  • See all 2016 deadlines
  • Preview 2016 plans and prices
  • Start an application


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