Do you have a health insurance plan in place for 2014? Health insurance is now required under the government’s new Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment through the government’s Health Insurance Marketplace closes on March 31, 2014. So if you haven’t enrolled for 2014 yet, now’s the time!
This new Health Insurance Marketplace is online at www.healthcare.gov. A useful feature is the “See Plans Before I Apply” tab. There, you can browse the same prices and tax credits that you will see through your actual enrollment. Tax credits are a new tool that makes expensive insurance affordable. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the health insurance enrollment process:
What is open enrollment?
Open enrollment is the time period in which people can shop and purchase new health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. For 2014, the open enrollment period started October 1, 2013 and closes on March 31, 2014.
Do I have to enroll?
You only have to enroll if you do not have a current health insurance plan that meets the new government standards. Those who have Medicare, Medicaid, employee-sponsored insurance, or their own individual plan, do not have to enroll.
If you have a job, it is especially important to check with your employer to see if they are offering coverage for you under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
If you do not have a current health insurance plan in place, or you do not have one offered by an employer, then you must get coverage either on your own or by enrolling in the Marketplace, by March 31, 2014.
What do I do during open enrollment?
Go to www.healthcare.gov to fill out an online application. You will find out if you will receive a tax credit to be applied to the purchase of a plan. You can compare prices, check out the benefits of different plans, and buy the plan that is right for you and your family.
What do I need with me for open enrollment?
- An estimate of your household’s income for 2014. Specifically, an estimate of your Adjusted Gross Income – Line 37 from the IRS 1040 form.
- Past tax returns and pay stubs are a useful tool for estimating your 2014 income. You may also want to consult with your tax preparer or accountant to help with your estimate.
- A working email address that you can access during enrollment. If you do not use email, enrollment is still possible, but you need to work with an assister. See below for assistance.
- Social Security Numbers and birth dates for everyone in your household. You can also enroll if you are a legal immigrant by entering your document numbers.
What happens if I don’t have insurance, and I don’t enroll by March 31?
You may have to pay a penalty fee when you file your 2014 taxes next year, but only if affordable insurance was available to you and you chose not to enroll. Otherwise, you may apply for an exemption from the fee.
What if I need help with the enrollment process?
The Montana Primary Care Association, Community Health Partners, Gallatin City-County Health Department, Gallatin Mental Health Center, Bozeman HRDC, and Bozeman Public Library are teaming up to hold a series of enrollment assistance sessions for the public. At each session, Navigators and Certified Application Counselors will be available to answer questions and walk community members through the enrollment process, helping them understand their insurance options and sign up for a plan that meets their needs.
Monday, March 24: Bozeman Public Library (626 E Main, Bozeman), 5:30 pm – 8 pm
Tuesday, March 25: Bozeman Public Library, 10 am – 8 pm
Friday, March 28: CHP Dental Clinic (120 N 19th, Suite H, Bozeman), 8 am – 4 pm
Friday, March 28: Three Forks Library (607 Main St, Three Forks), 1 pm – 5 pm
Friday, March 28: Bozeman HRDC (32 South Tracy Ave, Bozeman), 6 pm – 9 pm
Saturday, March 29: Bozeman Deaconess Health Fair (915 Highland Blvd), 7 am – 1 pm
Saturday, March 29: Belgrade Library (106 N Broadway, Belgrade), 11 am – 5 pm
Saturday, March 29: Bozeman HRDC, 6:30 pm – 9 pm
Sunday, March 30 1 pm – 5 pm Bozeman Public Library
Sunday, March 30 6 pm – 9 pm Bozeman HRDC
Monday, March 31 10 am – 8 pm Bozeman Public Library
For more information about the Open Enrollment Help, see our latest blog post.