By
President
HSA for America

Understanding the
2015 Health Insurance Enrollment Process

November 1, 2014
Vol. 10, Issue 11

 

Health insurance enrollment begins November 15. But what does this mean for you? Where do you start and are you required to do anything? That’s a big question that covers a lot of territory, and everyone’s circumstances are different. Let’s take a look and see where you fit in.

If You Signed Up for a Plan Last Year…

If you signed up for a health plan through the federal exchange or state marketplace last year, you have a couple of options:

  • Auto-renew your plan
  • Continue with the same plan but have your premium subsidy recalculated
  • Sign up for a new health plan

In my blog, Why Allowing Your Health Plan to Auto-Renew in 2015 Could Cost You Money, I explain the dangers of allowing your health plan to auto-renew, particularly if you qualify for or currently receive premium assistanceThe biggest risk is that you could lose out on valuable premium tax credits and end up paying substantially more in premiums in 2015.

If you are happy with your plan and you receive premium assistance, I recommend, if you haven’t already, scheduling a time to meet with your Personal Benefits Consultant by phone to review all of your personal and financial data to ensure you continue in the best value plan and receive the appropriate premium subsidy for 2015.

Many new carriers are entering the health insurance market for 2015. Once you meet with your Personal Benefits Consultant, they may find another health plan available in your area that can save you even more money. If that’s the case, your Personal Benefits Consultant will assist you with the enrollment process, review and update all of your personal and financial data, and recalculate your premium subsidy.

When switching to a new plan, it’s important to submit your application by December 15 to avoid having your current plan auto-renew and to ensure a January 1 policy effective date. Otherwise new policies become effective as follows:

Policy effective date: Applications submitted by:
January 1, 2015 December 15
February 1, 2015 January 15
March 1, 2015 February 15

 

Switching From a Grandfathered or Grandmothered Plan to a New Health Plan

Keeping your grandfathered or grandmothered health plan is typically the best decision, especially if you’re happy with your coverage, physicians and premium and you don’t qualify for a subsidy to reduce your premium on a new plan. These plans are usually less expensive than new plans, with larger doctor networks.

But for others there are also several reasons you may want to consider doing away with your grandfathered or grandmothered health plan and making the switch to a new health plan:

  • If you qualify for premium assistance you can lower your monthly premium with a new health plan, perhaps quite a bit.
  • If your current plan has exclusions on pre-existing conditions, you qualify to sign up for a new plan that will cover your current health challenges.
  • If your premiums have gone up substantially, a new plan may offer lower rates.
  • If your plan is terminating, you MUST sign up for a new plan soon.

If any of these circumstances pertain to you, you should schedule a time with your Personal Benefits Consultant as soon as possible as this is our busiest time of the year. If your plan is scheduled to terminate in December, you’ll  want to avoid any lapse in coverage, so you’ll need to apply for new coverage no later than December 15 to ensure a January 1 policy effective date.

If you make less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, you qualify for premium assistance to help lower your monthly payments (that’s $95,400 for a family of four or $46,680 for single). By signing up for a new health plan, you can substantially reduce your monthly payment. Last year one of our HSA for America Personal Benefits Consultants helped one family reduce their monthly premium from $1,295.86 per month to a net monthly premium of $49.86 after premium assistance!

What to Expect During Your Insurance Enrollment Phone Appointment

Whether you’re simply updating information, changing health plans or signing up for a new plan for the first time, it’s important that you have all of the necessary information available during your phone appointment with your Personal Benefits Consultant:

  • Names of all individuals you plan to insure
  • Dates of birth
  • Social security numbers
  • Recent pay stubs of all family members to be insured
  • Other income information (including social security benefits, unemployment and alimony)

Once your Personal Benefits Consultant has obtained all of this information, your premium subsidy can be re-calculated and/or you’ll be ready to sign up for a plan. Your Personal Benefits Consultant will be able to tell you immediately how much your premium subsidy will be and your net monthly premium payment.

Your Personal Benefits Consultant and the application processing team with submit your application to the health insurance carrier and notify you once a policy number has been established. This helps avoid delays and keeps the entire process flowing effortlessly, and that’s what we’re all about - making the process of getting insurance easy and hassle-free! And your Personal Benefits Consultant will continue as your Personal Benefits Consultant even after your policy becomes effective to help with any premium or claims’ issues.

Schedule Your Insurance Enrollment Appointment

This is our busiest time of the year, so it’s important that you schedule a phone appointment with your Personal Benefits Consultant as soon as possible - especially if you’re shooting for a January 1, 2015 policy effective date. You can contact your Personal Benefits Consultant by email or by calling us directly at 800-913-0172.


To your health and wealth!


"Wiley III and Wiley IV - The world is a very BRIGHT place!"

Wiley Long
President - HSA for America

P.S. If you qualify for a special enrollment period, you still have time to have an HSA-qualified health plan in place by December 1 to claim contributions on your 2014 tax return!

 

 

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749 S. Lemay Ave, Suite A3-116
Fort Collins, CO 80524
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