Fall has arrived, and with it, the Open Enrollment period for your health insurance plan. Here are important tips to keep in mind as you select your coverage. The Annual Open Enrollment starts November 1, 2022.
What Is Open Enrollment?
Open Enrollment is a specially designated period of time that you have to enroll yourself and any family members in a health insurance plan. During the open enrollment period, you have the ability to:
- Enroll in a health insurance plan
- Change your existing health insurance plan
- Apply for subsidies to help pay for your health insurance coverage
- Add family members to your health insurance plan
Here Are 5 Tips to Keep in Mind for Open Enrollment:
1. Do your fact-finding and planning in advance.
There are quite a few financial considerations as you plan your 2022 health insurance. Look over your medical expenses for the past year.
Estimate your household income for 2022 in case you will qualify for Medicaid or tax credits. Now think about the health expenses you’re likely to incur in 2022.
Do you have any preferred doctors or specialists? Make a note of any clinics you require as well as preferred hospital network. Are there any prescription medications you need? Create a list for easy formulary look up.
Answering these questions will help you find a plan that meets your needs. The more flexible you are, the more money you can save on a plan.
2. Decide who will receive coverage on your plan
Will your health insurance coverage be for yourself only? Will you and your spouse enroll in a family plan?
It is worth the time to consider the pros and cons. If you have children, do they have coverage through school or are there other options?
Once you consider your enrollment options, gather the social security numbers for each person to be enrolled. You will need this for enrollment. Take the time you need to research the different health insurance companies and the plans they offer.
You will have various options such as enrolling in an HMO, PPO, or POS. Based on your health and budget, you can select the appropriate tier: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Catastrophic (you must be under age 30 for a Catastrophic plan.)
3. Choose how you want to sign up for coverage
There are three ways to sign up for health insurance coverage:
- You can sign up through your state’s Marketplace. If your state does not have it’s own marketplace, you will enroll through Healthcare.gov. This step is necessary to apply for subsidies. Health Insurance Agents and Navigators can assist with this step.
- Enrollment is also possible through a private insurance carrier. If you aren’t eligible for the premium tax credit, you may choose to enroll directly with the insurance carrier.
- If you are currently enrolled in a plan, your insurance carrier will send you a renewal notice. If you take no action, your provider will automatically renew you in the same or similar plan. Please read all correspondence carefully. Network changes can be disruptive. Reach out to your agent or customer service with any questions.
Open Enrollment begins on November 1st. You have until December 15th to make changes for a January 1st effective date. Familiarize yourself with your coverage benefits to gain maximum use of your health insurance.
4. Keep in mind the penalties for missing Open Enrollment
If you miss Open Enrollment, you may forfeit your health insurance eligibility for 2022 unless you have a qualifying life event. If you do have a qualifying life event, you will have a 60-day Special Enrollment timeframe to select a new health insurance plan.
Qualifying life events:
- Leaving a job/losing coverage
- Having a baby
- Getting married
5. Time to pay for your premium
It is important to pay your first health insurance premium on time. You must do this to have health insurance coverage for the year.
This first premium is usually due by December 31st for a January 1st start date. Once you make your initial payment, monthly premiums are usually due between the 1st and 15th moving forward. The earlier you pay your initial payment, the sooner you will get your ID cards. Sign up for autopay to ensure you never miss a payment.
Planning for Open Enrollment Streamlines the Process
When you keep these five tips in mind, your Open Enrollment process will flow smoothly. Organizing in advance will give you peace of mind that your health insurance coverage is in order.Health Plans of North Carolina has licensed, knowledgeable health insurance agents that can help you navigate your Marketplace insurance coverage options. Our service is free; reach out to the agent on this webpage to set an appointment to get ready for 2022.