Top 10 Things to Know About ACA Enrollment 2015
Here are 10 important things to keep in mind as you prepare for the next open enrollment period.
- Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are available year-round. Unlike private health insurance, Medicaid and CHIP are available any time of year. You can apply through your state’s Marketplace or by contacting the state office directly.
- Work-based insurance, Medicare, and other qualified plans may have different enrollment periods. The enrollment period for the Marketplace applies only to private insurance purchased by individuals and families. If you currently use work-based or other insurance, you may have a different open enrollment period. Check with your workplace or plan representative for more information.
- The enrollment window is narrower. The first enrollment period spanned six months to allow Americans to understand and take advantage of the new plans. The next enrollment period is much shorter. Plan to start making your changes early in order to have time for any technical or other issues that may arise.
- Current Marketplace plans expire December 31, 2014. Coverage purchased during the last open enrollment period will end on December 31, 2014. Many Americans who enrolled in coverage through HealthCare.gov will be automatically re-enrolled in that coverage, and any associated tax credits, for 2015. However, the rules differ for many state-run Marketplaces. Check with your Marketplace to determine what actions, if any, are necessary to ensure your coverage continues.
- For coverage that begins January 1, 2015 enroll by December 15, 2014. Although open enrollment extends through February, you will want to make changes by December 15, 2014 for any new plans or updates that need to begin by January 1, 2015.
- The 2014 Federal Poverty Level will be used to determine subsidies. The 2014 poverty level is slightly higher than 2013, at $23,850 for a family of four. As a result, most Americans whose income remains the same will see their subsidy increase or remain the same.
- Changes in family size or income could affect your subsidy amount. Subsidies are based on your household’s earnings as a percentage of the poverty level. As a result, a change in the members of your household or your earnings expectations for 2015 compared to 2014 could change your subsidy amount.
- Most health insurance plans purchased through HealthCare.gov will renew automatically. You’ll want to keep an eye on the mail to make sure you don’t miss communication from your health insurance company. This is especially important because there could be changes to your existing plan that cause you to want to change plan categories or even providers.
- Different insurance plans will be available. Your current health insurer may discontinue your plan or change the plan’s premium, coverage, provider network, or copayment amounts. In addition, new insurance plans may be available in your state that weren’t in 2014. You will want to research all of your options to make the best choice.
- The penalty for being uninsured will increase. If you don’t obtain health insurance in 2015, the tax penalty will be the greater of 2% of income or $325 per adult in the household ($162.50 for children under 18). It increases again in 2016, so you will want to be sure you obtain coverage or an exemption.