Anyone who needs to buy health insurance should act quickly!  Today, on November 1st, 2015, open enrollment begins for 2016 health coverage, but it is only open until January 31st, 2016.  The coverage will start on January 1st, 2016.

 

This means, between the dates 11/1/15 to 1/31/16, you can sign up for health insurance.  This is a hard deadline and applications will not be accepted after January 31st, unless you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period.  We have seen open enrollment extension exceptions in the past, but these are not guaranteed.

 

How much is this going to cost me?  Your monthly premium depends on claim history and your age group, along with a rate increase (projected at between 15.6% to 49% this year.)  You should receive a letter explaining your specific rate increase, if you are already insured.

 

Note that there is also the out-of-pocket (OOP) limit for families and individuals, $13,700 and $6,850.  A common misconception is that deductibles are the true financial cost to you, but it is actually the out of pocket cost.

 

Is there any way I can receive help paying for this?  Check MNsure if you are here in Minnesota or Healthcare.gov for all other States to see if you are eligible financial aid.  There are many factors that go into this calculation which may surprise you.

 

How will this affect my taxes?  You can go to the Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator to see how much of a tax subsidy you can receive, but be sure to use your projected 2016 income.  There may be repercussions if you end up making more than you anticipated, resulting in you paying back part of the subsidy at tax time.  You may want to consider speaking with a tax professional about this beforehand.

 

I’m not looking for a tax subsidy or financial aid, what does that mean?  MNsure is a central government website to look for the right health insurance plan for you.  Almost all insurers offer similar plans directly in the private market (outside of MNsure) and the best part: all of these plans meet the requirements for the Affordable Care Act. Key point: you only need MNsure if you are eligible, and want to receive, financial assistance for paying for health insurance. I recommend Healthcare.com (not gov) for window-shopping for private health insurance plans.

 

Hurry, fortune favors those who enroll early as we have seen website issues toward the end of the open enrollment period in the past.  Do not get caught without health insurance at the end of open enrollment, as you could be subject to a tax penalty for failure to carry health insurance.

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