Health insurance open enrollment:
You have options
Whether you are part of the 153 million Americans who receive health insurance coverage from an employer, the more than nine million self-employed, or the almost 14 million unemployed, tough economic times, rising medical costs and new laws related to healthcare reform make now a great time to reeducate yourself about health insurance.
If you receive health insurance through an employer, consider the following before selecting a coverage plan this year:
- Look closely for changes: Don’t automatically renew the option you had before; many employers are making changes due to rising costs.
- Take advantage of wellness incentives: Find out if your employer offers a wellness program that includes money-saving incentives for healthy behaviors such as exercising regularly or not smoking.
- Check out tax-free savings: In addition to your health insurance coverage, you may be eligible to open a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA). And don’t forget about dependent care savings accounts.
If you are self-employed or if your employer doesn’t offer coverage, you face unique challenges in finding and keeping health insurance, but you still have choices.
- Spouse plan: Check about being added to your spouse’s or domestic partner’s employer plan.
- Individual insurance: Consider shopping for private insurance. This option allows you to customize care to your lifestyle, health and budget. New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans (PCIP) could help if you have had trouble qualifying for coverage in the past. Plus, recent tax law changes make it possible to deduct the cost of premiums from your taxable income.
If you are unemployed, within the past year you were likely forced to determine how, or if, to continue your health insurance. Now is a good time to review your decision. If you’ve been out of work for some time and your income has taken a significant hit, you or your family members might be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Health Insurance for Your Life Stage
In addition to your work situation, your family structure and lifestyle also have an impact on your health insurance needs. Find the right fit for you.
- Young Singles: If you’re a recent college graduate and just entering the workforce, this is likely the first time you’re making your own health insurance decisions. Of course you have questions. What’s the difference between an HMO and a PPO? How long can you continue coverage on your parents’ health insurance policy? NAIC has answers.
- Young Families: A new spouse or baby can significantly change your health insurance needs and costs. In short, it’s not just about you anymore. Consider these tips to ensure you and your growing family are covered.
- Established Families: As your family matures, so do your health insurance needs. From maintenance drugs and braces to insurance for your college student, it’s important to know the facts.
- Seniors: Now that your children are grown, it’s more important that you focus on your own health. Make sure you have the right coverage before and during retirement.
Many other special health insurance considerations come into play for domestic partners, single parents, military, and seniors who are raising grandchildren. Knowing your options helps you save time, money and frustration.
Visit the NAIC's Special Section: PPACA & State Insurance Regulation for the latest news regarding healthcare reform implementation efforts.
Visit HealthCare.gov for information from the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS).