West Virginians who need to enroll, re-enroll or switch health insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov should note that the annual open enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace opens today and will be open a total of six weeks. It will will run from Nov. 1, 2017 through Dec. 15, 2017.
Consumers not covered by an employer-sponsored or a public plan can compare and enroll in individual health insurance plans via online exchanges operated via the federal government.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Procrastinators, beware. The 2018 healthcare.gov open enrollment period is Nov. 1 – Dec. 15, 2017, with coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
• Need help? Call the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner Consumer Services at 1-888-879-9842, TTY 1-800-435-7381.
• Have unpaid premiums? Beginning with 2018 open enrollment, insurance companies may be permitted to collect unpaid 2017 premiums before providing coverage in 2018.
• Want to carry over coverage? If you’re currently covered through the exchange and do not choose a plan for 2018, you will be re-enrolled in the same or a similar plan. Compare your existing plan against others in the marketplace to find the best fit.
• Not covered? Anyone without health insurance must pay a penalty for every month they are uninsured (unless they qualify for an exemption). If you lose coverage due to job loss or another
qualifying event, you have up to 90 days to secure coverage or pay a fee assessed against your tax return.
RETHINK YOUR RESEARCH
No matter which insurance option fits your needs, three simple steps will help you focus your research efforts, cut through the clutter and get smart about YOUR health insurance needs:
1. Start early. The more information you gather, the smarter your decisions.
2. Stay informed. The health insurance landscape is evolving rapidly. What is true today may be false tomorrow.
3. Shop around. What made sense this year may not be the best solution next year, particularly if your employment situation has changed. Take time to shop around.