Deadline for January 1, 2016 Coverage Approaching: What to Do

The deadline to get a marketplace plan with coverage starting January 1, 2016 is right around the corner. Consumers who don’t submit an application and select a plan by December 15, 2015 (extended to Dec. 17, 2015) will not be insured at the start of the new year. Consumers still have until the end of January to get coverage since open enrollment runs until January 31, 2016. Wondering when coverage starts when you buy a plan during open enrollment? Check out Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) 1.3.5 on our Navigator Resource Guide to get the effective coverage dates. Other FAQs related to enrollment that we answer include:

  • I don’t have a checking account. Can the insurance company require that I get one and pay my premiums through automatic monthly withdrawals? (FAQ 1.5.8)
  • Can I pay my health insurance premium with a credit card, debit card, money order or cash? (FAQ 1.5.9)
  • Can my brother (or my church) pay for my portion of the monthly health insurance premium for me? (FAQ 1.5.10)

Many consumers will also be eligible for financial assistance to help pay for their monthly premiums with premium tax credits and to reduce their out-of-pocket costs with cost-sharing reductions. The opportunity to apply and to enroll into these financial assistance programs is generally only available during open enrollment. Below are some FAQs about premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions that we answer in our Navigator Resource Guide:

  • Who is eligible for marketplace premium tax credits? (FAQ 1.4.1)
  • How do I apply for premium tax credits? (FAQ 1.5.5)
  • How much are the cost-sharing subsidies? (FAQ 1.5.25)

Consumers who received premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions in 2014 to help pay for the costs of health insurance have to file a 2014 tax return reconciling their premium tax credit to be eligible for financial assistance in 2016. For additional information, including how to apply for financial assistance if you filed a late 2014 tax return, check out FAQ 2.1.27 of our Navigator Resource Guide:

What about consumers that were automatically renewed into coverage? Check out our previous blog post summarizing why it’s a good idea to go back to the marketplace and to shop around. It’s not too late! You have until the end of open enrollment, January 31, 2016, to look and to select the best plan that’s right for you.

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