It’s time to buy your health insurance for 2017. Open enrollment for individual health insurance began November 1st and will continue through January 31, 2017.
If you are new to purchasing individual health insurance, this is the time of year you must choose a plan for 2017. If you don’t choose a plan now, you will not be able to get individual health insurance again until 2018, unless you have a major “qualifying” event happen in your life, such as getting married or divorced, having a child, making an interstate move or changing your employment status.
Even if you are happy with the plan you have now, you need to know that many plans are changing and you should review those changes before next year to make sure your insurance plan is still the right one for you.
Wading through all the information and choosing the right health insurance plan may seem overwhelming, but there are some things you can do to make this process go more smoothly and get you the best possible result.
Gather Necessary Information
First, gather all the records and documents you need to help you select the right plan and complete the enrollment process both for yourself and for any dependents you wish to cover. Use this downloadable checklist to help you make sure you have everything you need.
Know the Important Enrollment Deadlines
Dates are important. If you miss a deadline, it could be the difference between having individual health insurance and not having health insurance for 2017.
November 1, 2016: Open Enrollment started — first day to enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2017 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017.
December 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017.
January 1, 2017: 2017 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by December 15.
January 31, 2017: Last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Understand Health Insurance Terms
Do all these acronyms and technical insurance and health care terms leave you baffled and discouraged? Download our handy glossary of terms here to help guide through the health insurance maze.
Find Out if You Qualify for a Subsidy
Some applicants will qualify for either premium tax credits or out-of-pocket premium assistance depending on their income level. If your income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level, you may qualify for a discount. Use the quick calculator here to see if you may qualify. If your employer is offering health insurance, you can decline that coverage and buy your own plan but you will NOT qualify for any kind of tax credits or discounts.
Review Your Past—and Future—Health Expenses
Review your medical expenses from the last year, or more if you have the records. You can usually find this information on your health insurance plan’s member portal. Knowing what medical expenses you have had will help you plan for future medical expenses. Also, review any potential medical expenses you may be anticipating in 2017. For example, if you or a family member has an ongoing medical condition requiring regular treatment, if you are planning on a surgery or a new baby in 2017, you will want to consider those events in making your health plan choices.
Understand Your Insurance Plan Choices
Individual Health Insurance plans are changing in 2017. Some health insurers are no longer selling policies. Some have changed the plans they are offering. It is important for you to review the plans to make sure they cover the expenses you anticipate and need to have covered. You can find the 2017 plans and descriptions for all Colorado health insurance carriers here.
If you have questions or need help figuring out which plan is the right one for you, you can email Roper Insurance’s Individual Health Insurance specialists at [email protected] for assistance in choosing the right health plan.
Once you are ready to apply, you can use this convenient link to apply for any Colorado health insurance plan.