It’s that time of year again. You can drive down the street and see the beginning traces of Christmas quickly approaching. Most stores have their decorations up and gift shopping is in full swing. If you’re super organized then you’ve probably even already bought your turkey. (If you haven’t, all hands in for the procrastinators …tomorrow.) All of this means one thing, open enrollment for health insurance in the Marketplace. Probably not what you were thinking, but for all those 26-year-olds falling of their parents, it’s definitely on their minds.
Health insurance has definitely changed over the years so understandably, it can be kind of confusing, especially for those 20 somethings that never had to deal with it until now. Here’s what you need to know about buying insurance in the Marketplace – open enrollment is from November 15, 2014-February 15, 2015. Your 2014 plan will end December 31, 2014, no matter when you purchased it unless it is a grandfathered plan. If you want a new plan to start January 1st you have to renew or change your plan by December 15, 2014. This open enrollment period lasts until February 15, 2015, but anything that needs to be effective for that big Jan. 1 renewal must be completed by December 15th. If you purchase it after that cut off, if it’s bought between the 1st and 15th of the month, it will go into effect the 1st of the next month. If you purchase between the 16th and end of month, your plan will go into effect the 1st of the second following month. After February 15, 2015, the only way to purchase health insurance is if you qualify for Special enrollment period due to a qualifying life event such as marriage, birth or adoption, or loss of other health care. The penalty for not having insurance has increased for this coming year. If you don’t have health coverage for the year 2015 you may have to pay this penalty-2% of your income or $325.00 per adult/ $162.50 per child, whichever is more.