Have you talked to your loved ones about health insurance lately? Getting covered has important benefits ‘«Ű like keeping you healthy and protecting you from medical costs ‘«Ű so take the time this holiday season to talk to your family and friends about getting covered, and tell them it's important to you that they do. Remember, Open Enrollment ends February 15, 2015, so it's important to act fast!
Here are the top five things you need to know:
1. Why health insurance is important in 2015
Health insurance plans cover important health benefits, preventive care and pre-existing conditions to help you stay healthy. It's better to be safe than sorry ‘«Ű taking care of your health proactively is good for you and good for your family.
2. How to enroll in a new plan or make changes to your coverage from last year
If you are uninsured, the Health Insurance Marketplace can help you find the right plan. At www.coveredca.com; you will be able to compare plans and prices, and see if you qualify for reduced-cost private health insurance, Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If you had coverage via the marketplace in 2014, you can log in to learn about your 2015 options and make change to your coverage. If you have insurance through your employer, talk to your employer about how to enroll for the coming year.
3. Who can enroll using the Health Insurance Marketplace
You are eligible to use the Health Insurance Marketplace if you live in the United States, and are a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
4. The Open Enrollment deadlines
Open Enrollment, or the period of time when you can purchase coverage for 2015, has started already and will end on February 15, 2015. You must purchase a plan during this time or you will have to wait until next year for coverage. The exceptions to this rule are Medicaid or CHIP, which you can apply for any time of the year.
5. What happens if you don't get covered
Under the Affordable Care Act, if you are eligible you should get health insurance or may have to pay a fee.
Important Dates to Remember:
‘«ů December 15, 2014: The last date to enroll for coverage that starts January 1, 2015
‘«ů December 31, 2014: Date when all 2014 Marketplace coverage ends, no matter when you enrolled
‘«ů January 1, 2015: The date 2015 coverage can start if you apply by December 15, 2014, or if you accept automatic enrollment in your 2014 plan or a similar plan
‘«ů February 15, 2015: The last day to enroll in 2015 coverage. If you miss this deadline, you can't sign up for a health plan inside or outside the Marketplace for the rest of 2015. The only exception is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Using these five points as a guide, talk to your family and friends this holiday season about the importance of health insurance and how to get covered. You can find more information about the Affordable Care Act and getting covered using the Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov.