By: Diane Kania
Time to Review Policies!
As the world of health insurance turns, we all get a little overwhelmed when we’re suddenly given the burden of finding our own health coverage. Whether it’s because we’ve lost our employer-sponsored group coverage, moved residences, got married or divorced, or suddenly became responsible for our families’ or parents’ coverage, most of us don’t have a clue as to what to do! As one of my client’s put it when she was recently reviewing health insurance plans…”I might as well be reading Chinese!”
There are only certain time frames that you are allowed to enroll or change your coverage. These dates are very important because, if you miss them, you have to wait until next year to enroll or change your benefits. If you’re unhappy with your existing plan and miss the deadline to make changes, you are stuck with what you have. There are exceptions, of course, for special circumstances, which allow you a “special enrollment period” of 60 days following the loss of your coverage to apply for a new plan. Such circumstances may include loss of group coverage, moving to a new area, getting married or divorced, or losing your plan because it’s being discontinued.
Here is what you need to know.
If you are turning 65 or are currently on Medicare…
If you or a loved one, such as a parent or grandparent, are turning 65 or are currently on Medicare, NOW is the time to make an appointment and review your coverage! Medicare recipients are often unfamiliar with their own benefits and leave coverage decisions to their children who know even less! Take the time to learn about the different parts of Medicare: Part A, Part B and Part D. Become familiar with how Medicare supplements differ from privatized Medicare health plans. There are advantages to both, but making the right choice is a personal one. What works best for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Medicare recipients
October 15, 2015 to December
- Enroll, change or disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and/or Prescription Drug Plan
- This does NOT apply to Medicare Supplements (which can be changed at any time)
If you are under 65…
Your window of time to enroll in a major medical plan or change an existing plan is coming up as well. You will have the opportunity to apply for new coverage directly through an insurance carrier or through the Federal Marketplace. This is the only time you can do this unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. If you think you may qualify for a tax premium subsidy based on your income, you will need to submit an application through the Marketplace. A licensed health insurance agent who’s also certified to offer Federally-Facilitated Marketplace (FFM) plans can help you with either situation.
2016 Open Enrollment for those UNDER 65
Begins November 1, 2015 and Ends January 31, 2016
- Enroll in a new plan or make changes to an existing plan.
- To see if you qualify for a subsidy, which is based on income, go to healthcare.gov. The only way to get a subsidized plan is by enrolling through the Marketplace.
When it comes to money matters, ignorance is NOT bliss. It is our goal at Fabulous Over 50 to educate and empower women with knowledge to live their best lives.