The current health insurance landscape can be confusing to say the least. It is filled with various deadlines and and a litany of jargon. If you’re no longer eligible to be covered under your parents’ plan or it’s your first time signing up for your own health insurance, you may have many questions.
Here are a few things that millennials need to understand when signing up for health insurance through the ACA marketplace.
Is “marketplace” coverage my only option? Not exactly. If you’re under the age of 26, you’re still eligible to be covered through your parents’ coverage. If your employer offers health insurance as part of its benefits package, you can also be insured that way. If neither of those are options, getting insured through the ACA marketplace is your best bet. You can use the government website (www.healthcare.gov) or you can use an independent portal like ours. The advantage of using the Axess Advisors portal is it requires significantly less information than the government website and it gives you the full support of our experienced team for any account questions you may have.
What is the penalty and how do I avoid it? If you choose not to enroll in an individual healthcare plan for 2016, there is a financial penalty assessed on you at the end of the year. It will be 2.5% of your yearly household income, or $695 per eligible adult, whichever is higher. In other words, if you’re making a living wage, you’d be making a financially irresponsible decision to not sign up for a plan. It will cost you more in the end.
What’s more important—premiums or deductibles? It really depends on your situation. A premium is the amount of money that you’ll pay per month in order to keep your coverage active. It’s like your monthly phone bill; pay it and you’ve got access to all included services. Fail to pay it and your service is shut down and you no longer have those benefits. A deductible is the total amount of money you will have to pay towards medical bills before your insurance company will step in and pay the rest. Both of these numbers will vary by plan. Many plans will pay for some services before you reach your deductible’s full limit.
A copay is another important term you may hear lumped in with premiums and deductibles. Think of a copayment as if you and your insurance company are going to pay for health services together, but you only have to pay a fraction of the price up-front. Really, these are policies in place to help limit your out-of-pocket costs for regular healthcare services like doctor’s visits and prescriptions. These numbers are all important, but which plan is best suited to you is based on your personal finances and situation.
When exactly are the important deadlines? December 15 is the next important deadline. It is the last day to enroll in a plan if you want your coverage to start on January 1, 2016. January 15, 2016 is the last day to enroll if you want your coverage to start by February 1, 2016. This year, the Open Enrollment period ends on January 3, 2016. If you do not enroll in a plan by this date, you will not be allowed to enroll in a plan for 2016, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
We hope this blog has been able to answer some of your questions about health insurance and the requirements and procedures of the Affordable Care Act. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to us here and we’ll get an answer back to you as soon as we can.