Most people start the New Year by making resolutions like losing weight, eating healthier or joining a gym. What most people may not realize is the most important thing we can do to benefit our health is to educate ourselves about our health ÔÇô and for that you need an annual checkup.
Annual checkups are covered by insurance. If you don't have insurance or would like to change to different plan, you can take advantage of the Open Enrollment period that began on November 1 to enroll in a health insurance plan.
Most health plans must cover preventive services at no cost to you. These free preventive services may include:
Dental and vision exams are just as important as your annual physical. If you want to purchase a dental insurance plan along with your health plan, during the Open Enrollment process you can compare dental plans, see which plans cover your dentist and which best fit your budget. Often if you have dental insurance, your six-month dental check-up is completely covered, so take advantage of the chance to have your teeth cleaned.
If you need glasses or contact lenses, you can also purchase vision insurance when you purchase your health plan.
Remember that the penalties for not having insurance are increasing in 2016: If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you must pay a fine or have an exemption from health coverage.
If you do not have health insurance in 2016, you will pay the higher of two amounts:
-2.5% of your annual household income (only the amount of income above the tax threshold, about $10,150 for an individual in 2014, is used to calculate the penalty). The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a Bronze plan.
-$695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18 years). The maximum penalty for using this method family is $2,085.