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HCCUA NEWSLETTER
June 2017

Dear HCCUA Members:

With Open Enrollment starting on November 1st, HCCUA wants to enlighten members with some important information on how to explore this window of opportunity!

Open Enrollment is the once-a-year period when everyone can enroll in “major medical” health insurance.  “Major medical” insurance is comprehensive health insurance that covers a wide range of benefits, from hospital inpatient and emergency care to doctor visits and pediatric services.

During Open Enrollment, you can also apply for subsidies to provide financial assistance toward your monthly health insurance premiums. These subsidies are based upon your household income and household size. If you qualify, a subsidy will help make your premium payments more affordable.

On November 1st Americans are able to enroll for health plans that become effective on January 1st, 2018.  December 15th, 2017 is the last day to enroll in or change plans for new coverage to begin on January 1st. Open Enrollment will close on January 15th, 2018 for new coverage starting February 1st, 2018. After that, most people will be unable to purchase major medical health insurance until the following year unless they experience a life-changing event (such as moving to another state, losing coverage, getting married or gaining a dependent).

Don’t delay! When applying for a subsidy, the government may require you to produce documents so they can verify your income. That can slow down the process a bit, which is why it’s critical that you act early during the Open Enrollment period so you can be assured your coverage is effective on January 1st!

Millions of people signed up for subsidized major medical plans last year, and millions more found that they were covered by Medicaid. If you are uninsured or underinsured, this is the time that you should explore your options. Even if you already have coverage, you may find a new subsidized plan that provides you with better coverage at a more affordable price.

If you don’t have comprehensive health insurance – such as major medical coverage, coverage through your employer, or coverage through a government program like Medicare or Medicaid – you may be liable to pay a tax penalty for not having insurance. This is called the “individual mandate” and it is perhaps the most controversial provision of the Affordable Care Act.

There are some types of insurance that you can buy year-round, including short-term medical coverage. If you don’t know whether your current policy meets the government’s coverage requirements, talk to a licensed insurance agent!  When shopping for a policy, keep an eye on deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance requirements. A licensed insurance agent can help to understand what those terms mean if there is any confusion. Some policies can leave you responsible for significant out-of-pocket costs, so choosing the right health plan – and perhaps the right “gap” plan to supplement it – is critical. For this reason we have included an article on the Top Reasons to Use a Licensed Agent during Open Enrollment to better inform you before you make that call!

Help is only a phone call away! iCan Benefit Group is the trusted agent of the HCCUA and we highly recommend their services to our members. The licensed insurance agents at iCan provide a level of customer service that you can’t get from a website.  They have helped tens of thousands of Americans find the coverage they need at an affordable price. Call iCan at 800-428-3176 to find out what products they have available in your area.

Sincerely,
Kristine Eckardt, Director of Member Communications,
HCCUA

Affordable Health Insurance - iCan