It’s that time of year again. As if the holidays weren’t enough struggle, the Healthcare Marketplace is open once again. If you’re looking to find new health insurance or looking to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act, here are a few things you should know:
Healthcare Marketplace Facts
Anyone who doesn’t currently have health insurance through their employer, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program or another source can buy coverage through open enrollment from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.
Government employees and volunteers are helping people sign up for health insurance. Generally the people that need to worry about getting health insurance which the marketplace is open are under the age of 65.
Health insurance plans for 2016 offer four levels of coverage. The levels are bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Each of them covers 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent and 90 percent of the costs, respectively.
All four levels of the health insurance plans offer preventive care, doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital visits and maternity and newborn care. Certain insurance plans cover other things like vision, dental, or medical management programs.
Who has to get health insurance coverage?
Everyone. Well, basically everyone. The Affordable Care Act requires enrollment in a health insurance plan unless one qualifies for an exemption. Those who are required to buy insurance and fail to do so will be forced to pay penalties. The 2016 penalties will be twice as much the penalties people saw in 2015.
Who can be exempt?
To find out if you are exempt from purchasing a healthcare plan, visit the HealthCare.gov website. They will ask you a series of questions to find out if you have any exemptions that will prevent you from having to purchase an insurance plan.
How to apply
If you find that you are required to purchase a healthcare plan, visit the HealthCare.gov website for more information. Though the website has been known for its less-than user-friendly services in the past, the site has improved a great deal.
If you’ve not applied for a healthcare plan in the past through the HealthCare.gov website, you can apply for a plan. If you have an existing plan from last year, you can keep or make changes to your healthcare plan.
This is an important note – if you do have an existing plan, you must renew it to keep coverage. The healthcare plan needs updated information on your income, etc. If you’ve decided to make changes to your plan, you can do that as well.
Applying for coverage
You can obviously apply for coverage and renew your coverage through the HealthCare.gov website. However, if you would rather talk to someone on the phone about your insurance plan, you can call 1-800-318-2596. They ask that before you call that you get a Marketplace Overview. Also, note that the calling center is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Visit the HealthCare.gov website for more information.