Employers don’t have to offer health insurance. Some employers don’t. I have used the exchanges since I am self employed and there was a gap in coverage for my Veteran’s coverage.
So you have people like me all over the United States helping match people with health insurance that works for their budget and their needs.
When and where to go?
The Open Enrollment Period for Healthcare is November 1st through December 15th.
For the United States, the main exchange is Healthcare.gov. If you have enough knowledge, then you can do it yourself or it can help you find someone to assist you.
I work in Washington state. Our state’s exchange is the Healthplanfinder.com. State Run exchanges can have extra benefits for example we get a bonus month for enrollments. My wife and I have been running one of the ten enrollment centers for the state which are located in Wenatchee. We have special rules in that we explain all of the plans on the exchange and are available year-round to assist and answer questions.
Who can help?
Check-in with your state resources and whenever possible use local resources. Health insurance plans are very regional like contracting down to the county level. There is a lot of disinformation out there as you work with more trained professionals the opportunity for understanding increases.
Just in case they need Medicare the Annual Enrollment Period is October 15th through December 7th. Yes, the overlap means that the people assisting people are incredibly busy.
Two groups that can be of further assistance:
- Medicare the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. These are volunteers they can explain however they cannot recommend or fill in any insurance gaps.
- National Association of Benefit and Insurance Professionals (NABIP). These are trained insurance professionals who can recommend plans and fill in protection gaps. If you local one then you are helping fund a small business.
Once you find a volunteer or broker that you connect with then do not hesitate to set an annual appointment early. Every year review your options and it will reduce surprises in the long run.
Outside of Open Enrollments, there are Special Enrollments
If you qualify for Medicaid or American Indian & Alaska Natives then you can enroll year-round. If you lose coverage or gain immigration status then you can use a special enrollment. Sometimes the state will declare a special enrollment for a disaster. Our office runs every application because special enrollments occur regularly and we want our clients to have the opportunity. If they miss it then they are set for the fall enrollment.
This year we had a large number of people setting appointments in September for their Fall appointments and they were able to spend minimal time waiting for an appointment or chasing a calendar space.
Topics: Healthcare.gov, Healthplanfinder, Health Insurance, Medicare, ACA, Medicaid, SHIP, Enrollment Period, Washington, Wenatchee, Independent Insurance Agent,