It’s November. That means one thing and one thing only. Well ok…maybe two things. It’s almost turkey time and it’s also open enrollment with your health insurance. With all the hype around Obamacare and the mandated health insurance, it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what exactly are the cold hard facts when it comes to buying your best health plan. That’s where we step in.
Have the rates gone up? Let’s talk about the one that’s on everybody’s mind—price. When looking at renewals, the rates on individual plans have gone up as much as 76%. Group plans didn’t go up quite as much. On average, we’re seeing around a 10-15% increase.
Will I be penalized? In order to not be penalized, one is required to have a qualifying health coverage plan in place throughout 2016. If you went without coverage throughout the year, individuals will only have to pay the fee for the months that you did NOT have coverage. If you were without health insurance coverage for 1 to 2 months, you will not be required to pay for the fee for any months.
What is the penalty this year? Following last year’s same numbers, the penalty is 2.5% of your annual income or $695 per person, whichever is more. That’s a steep hike from two years ago when it was 2% of your annual income or $325 per person.
What are the exemptions? There are four most common exemptions that can be done in order to avoid the penalty.
- The first most basic being that you had a health insurance plan in place.
- The second is if you live in a state that did not expand Medicaid.
- The third is if your income is too low to file a tax return. That’s the case for a single person who earned less than $10,150, or a married couple with an income below $20,300.
- The fourth is if the yearly premium exceeds 8% of your annual income in regards to an individual plan or 9.56% of your annual income in regards to a group plan. Stipulations do apply on this last one. If you’re eligible for marketplace credits, they want these applied to the total. Also, they will usually apply this rule to the highest deductible plan.
Check all the rules and regulations before counting on any exemptions to make sure you truly do qualify.
When can I enroll? Now. Open enrollment is from November 1, 2016-January 31st 2017. December 15th is the last day to enroll for a January 1 effective date.