Health plan open enrollment starts in the fall

What you need to know for 2015

Every health plan has an open enrollment period (the period of time when you can sign up or make changes to your insurance). This year’s open enrollment for the health insurance marketplace begins Nov. 15, 2014, and ends Feb. 15, 2015.

Open enrollment window Nov. 15 to Feb. 15

Here are some basic guidelines so you know what to watch for during open enrollment:

  • If you don’t have affordable coverage through an employer, partner’s employer or Medicare, you may apply for a marketplace health plan. Coverage starts in 2015 if you apply during open enrollment.
  • If you already have a marketplace health plan, open enrollment is your chance to make changes to your plan or choose a different plan.
  • If you experience changes in your family or life, you can enroll or make adjustments to your marketplace plan during a special enrollment period (outside of open enrollment) for qualifying events such as a birth, marriage, divorce or job loss.
  • If your employer stops offering health coverage to employees, you’ll be able to enroll in a marketplace plan during a special enrollment period.
  • Premium subsidies reduce the cost of insurance if you qualify based on income, and these subsidies are only available in marketplace plans.
  • Those who qualify for Medicaid and/or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can enroll at any time–there are no open enrollment periods for these programs.
  • There’s a penalty if you don’t have health coverage, which is paid through taxes. The amount for 2015 is higher than it was in 2014 (2 percent of your income or $325 per adult/$162.50 per child, whichever is more).

Find a health plan that fits

Having a health plan in place can help you feel more confident about your future–whether it’s a plan through your employer, the marketplace or direct from an insurer. If you or someone you know needs help finding health insurance, go to www.healthcare.gov or visit the Texas health insurance marketplace website.

The financial counselors and certified application counselors at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas are available to help you navigate the health insurance application process if you are uninsured or unsure of your next steps. Contact us at (409) 212-7018 or visit www.bhset.net to learn more.

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Partners In Education Program with All Saint’s Episcopal School. Hospital employees donate their time and talents to educate students and faculty on healthy lifestyles.

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