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Open Enrollment 2018: Key Information, Dates and Reminders

Doctor visit

If you are currently without health insurance, Open Enrollment for individuals is here. Open Enrollment is your opportunity to purchase this coverage so that you can be covered on January 1, 2018.

It is important to be aware that if you are earning an income above the Federal Poverty Level, you will be required to pay a penalty for any three consecutive months that you are without health insurance. If you have lost your coverage previously sponsored by an employer, or you no longer qualify to be on your parent’s plan because you are over 26 years old, Open Enrollment is your time to take action to purchase health insurance.

Here is how you can take advantage of this sign-up period to secure health insurance and avoid any subsequent penalties.

What is Open Enrollment?

This is a period during which an individual can apply for health insurance with fewer restrictions than any other time during the year. It is important for those uninsured individuals to make note of this eligibility period. Open Enrollment for the calendar year of 2018 extends from November 1st through December 15, 2017. During Open Enrollment, insurance companies    waive underwriting guidelines and any requirement for evidence of insurability. When Open Enrollment ends on 12/15/17, individuals seeking coverage need to be “qualified” for Special Enrollment, or they will be required to wait until the next scheduled open enrollment period for 2019.

What is Special Enrollment?

This is a period outside open enrollment during which you are given an exception and can purchase health insurance following a qualifying life event, including divorce, marriage, birth, adoption, moving, death and loss of employer sponsored coverage.

How can individual insurance be purchased?

A number of Health Insurance Companies are offering Individual health coverage either directly through health carrier websites, via the New York State Health Exchange, or off the Exchange through independent insurance brokers.

What penalties will you be responsible to pay if you are not covered?

In 2018: $695 or 2.5% of income (individual) and $347.50 (child). The maximum penalty will be set at $2,085.

Health insurance is extremely important for all individuals, even for those with a clean bill of health. Accidents happen, as do unforeseen illnesses.  The cost of emergency room visits, x-rays, MRIs, hospital stays and doctor visits can all add up and be a financial burden to you and your family. We urge you to take advantage of this opportunity to purchase health insurance.  Please contact us with any questions you have about Open Enrollment.