As you might already know, Covered California is currently operating its annual Open Enrollment period. During this time, you can make changes to your current health insurance policy, or shop for a new policy. You should also log into the system to update your financial information and family size, so that your subsidy (if you receive one) will be calculated correctly.
Open Enrollment ends on January 31, so it’s important to take action now! If you don’t enroll in a health insurance plan by the deadline, you could face a penalty on your tax return next year. You also won’t have health insurance coverage during 2016, which can trigger a financial disaster if you have a major accident or illness during the year.
Even if you have health insurance, remember to compare different policies before January 31. In some cases, customers find that they can upgrade to more coverage, a lower deductible, or more convenient health care services. Remember to evaluate last year’s out of pocket health care spending to see if a different plan might work better for you.
If you don’t take advantage of the current Open Enrollment period to make changes or enroll in a new plan, you won’t be able to do so during the year unless you have a “qualifying life event”. Examples of these situations include:
- You lose your health insurance coverage for some reason
- Your income changes significantly, and you become newly eligible for subsidies or are no longer eligible for the subsidy you receive
- You turn 26 years old (you can’t stay on your parents’ health insurance plan after this point)
- A new child joins your family, whether by birth, adoption, or foster care
- You get married or enter into a domestic partnership
- You’re a member of a federally recognized American Indian or Alaska Native tribe
- You experience some other unusual, exceptional circumstance that warrants a change in your health insurance status. These cases are rare and are determined by Covered California on an individual basis.
As you can see, the situations in which you can make changes to your plan outside of the Open Enrollment period are fairly limited. So make sure to log into Covered California today – or, better yet, give our office a call and let us guide you through the process! Remember, the deadline is January 31, so don’t wait until the last minute.