The Best Time is Now

Health Insurance Open Enrollment for 2017 begins November 1st, 2016 and continues through January 31st, 2017. This is the chance to sign up for a new insurance plan, re-enroll in your current plan, or make changes to your current plan. Keep in mind when setting up your health insurance that it will not start immediately. Depending on which date you sign up will decipher when your coverage will start. The following outlines the sign-up dates and associated start dates of your coverages:

  • If you sign up between November 1, 2016 and December 15, 2016, your coverage would start on January 1, 2017.
  • If you sign up between December 16, 2016 and January 15, 2017, your coverage would start on February 1, 2017.
  • If you sign up between January 16, 2017 and January 31, 2017, your coverage would start on March 1, 2017.

 Facts to Know

After the enrollment period you will not be able to sign up for a plan unless you meet the requirements for a special enrollment period. This circumstance could be marriage, birth or adoption of a child, job loss of either you or your spouse, divorce, death of a spouse or partner, or if your hours are cut making you ineligible for employer benefits. When in enrolling, keep in mind the 10 essential benefits all health plans have to cover:

  • Lab Tests
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Hospitalization
  • Emergency Care
  • Pregnancy & Newborn Care
  • Rehab Services & Devices
  • Preventive & Wellness Services
  • Outpatient Care
  • Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
  • Dental & Vision Care for Children

Most of the plans you are eligible for will cover these benefits, but it is important to be aware of what you are signing up for. The health insurance plans available in the marketplace are divided into four categories: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These categories indicate the cost-sharing they require. Once you sign up for a level of coverage you are not able to change it for a year. If you do not sign up for health insurance or the health insurance you sign up for does not cover any one of these benefits, there is a penalty, which increased in 2016 to 2.5% of your income or $695 per adult, whichever is more.

What Now?

Health insurance can be a difficult decision to make. There are many options, features, and eligibilities. If you obtain your health insurance through your employer, they may have a hotline you can contact for information. However, if you are not eligible for employee benefits, you may be able to obtain health insurance through the marketplace, websites, a health insurance company, or a specific health insurance agent. As a valued advocate for you, our qualified health insurance agents provide you with the right coverage at the right price to fit your personal and family needs. For more information visit our website at or call us at 616-965-3226 if you need help!