Often times people are not informed of the new regulations that govern the ACA and the main issue we have seen is Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment is a window of time that allows individuals to enroll in health plans for the following year. This is the only time that individuals are allowed to enroll in a plan for the following year unless they have a qualifying event during the years time frame. Many people believe that they can simply enroll in a health plan at any given time and be safe from a tax penalty, but that is not the case.
For 2016 you can enroll starting November 1st 2015 until January 31st 2016. To avoid a tax penalty you must have coverage for nine months out of the year. You must plan ahead to enroll in coverage as you will not be able to obtain coverage outside of the open enrollment period unless you have a qualifying event. You can see if you qualify with a life event HERE.
Choosing a health plan can be extremely stressful if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for in coverage. We highly recommend using a broker to help you understand the plan that you are choosing. This way taking an in depth look at plan options leaves you feeling more confident in your choice knowing you made a well informed decision. We say this due to another simple misunderstanding. Once you have chosen your health plan during open enrollment you can’t change that plan unless you have a qualifying life event or during the next years open enrollment.
Given these common misconceptions we hope you go into the quickly approaching open enrollment period confident with the choices you will be making for yourself and your family. Were you happy with the health plan you chose for 2015? Did you use a broker or enroll on your own in 2015? Answer those questions and if you have more feel free to ask!