Understanding the in’s and out’s of health insurance can be difficult. We all know health insurance is important, but how do you know that your current plan is the best option for you? Open Enrollment, an annual period of time when people can enroll in a health plan, is a great opportunity to ensure you are getting the most out of your health insurance. But where to begin?
Here are four fast facts about health insurance to help you get started. Still want to learn more? Thankfully, your local community pharmacist is an excellent resource to help you navigate the decisions for better care. Read on and be sure to reach out to your pharmacist soon!
Medicare Open Enrollment
Medicare Open Enrollment will be held from October 15th through December 7th. The Open Enrollment period serves as an opportunity to see what’s new with Medicare, and to find a plan that matches your health and financial needs. Information about Medicare health and prescription drug plans is usually sent at the beginning of October, so be sure to keep an eye out. Those who are already Medicare recipients can switch from Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to Medicare Advantage (Part C) or vice-versa. Additionally, you can swap Medicare Advantage plans, or add or change Part D prescription drug coverage.1 Any changes made during Open Enrollment take effect on January 1st of 2021. Remember, your pharmacist is there to help you navigate this decision-making process!
Affordable Care Act
For those who receive health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, Open Enrollment starts on November 1st and runs through December 15th. Depending on your family size and income2, you may qualify for tax subsidies that can help reduce your premiums. To learn more, visit healthcare.gov to understand the requirements.
Employer-based health insurance
Most Americans receive health insurance through their employer. However, because the
Open Enrollment period is usually selected by the organization, the dates vary. While some employers automatically renew their employees’ plans, others require that their employees sign up each year during their determined Open Enrollment period. Further, employers often change their health insurance providers, so it’s important to review your employer’s plan offerings, and to be aware of the enrollment period.
What happens if you miss Open Enrollment? Well, if you don’t sign up for health insurance during Open Enrollment, you’ll most likely need to wait for the next Open Enrollment period. However, there is an exception to the rule: if you experience a qualifying life event, such as loss of employment, or decrease in income, a special enrollment period may be available. Further, if job loss is the reason for the loss of health coverage, you can qualify to receive insurance from the federal health insurance marketplace. Keep in mind, if you voluntarily drop your health coverage, you will not qualify for a special enrollment period.
Know your options
As a result of the challenges caused by the spread of COVID-19, measures are being taken by state governments to help ensure Americans are insured. For example, some states have opened their health care exchanges for a special Open Enrollment period to give those who have lost their jobs (and their health insurance) an opportunity to find a plan. Other states have even extended their Open Enrollment periods!3
Want to learn more about health insurance and the importance of taking part in Open Enrollment? Reach out to your local community pharmacist to discuss how they can help you find a plan that fits both your health and your financial needs.
Not sure where your closest community pharmacy is located? No problem – just visit www.prescribewellness.com, enter your zip code, and we’ll show you! It’s that easy!