Open enrollment for health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplaces begins this weekend. Open enrollment is an annual opportunity for women to compare their insurance options and, depending on their circumstances, renew with their current plan, enroll in a new plan, or apply for Marketplace coverage for the first time. In 2014, more than 4 million women enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces. This year, many more women and their families are likely to shop for coverage and select a new health plan.
As women consider their options during open enrollment, here are five things to keep in mind:
- Everyone should visit healthcare.gov to review their options. Whether you are enrolling for the first time or already have coverage through the Marketplace, you should visit healthcare.gov to review your options. In many states, you will find new plans to choose from, which might better fit your health care needs and budget. If you enrolled last year, this is also an opportunity to update your information and see if you are eligible for additional financial assistance.
- Consider your health care needs. If you expect to see a doctor frequently in the future because of a medical condition or if you are expecting to become pregnant, you may want to think more about how you pay for insurance and medical costs before you enroll. Depending on how often you go to the doctor or how many medications you will need covered, you may want to pay higher or lower premiums, or have higher or lower cost sharing when you need care.
- Determine your budget. Depending on your income, you and your family may get help with your health insurance premiums, or qualify for free or low-cost health insurance. Be prepared to pay your first month’s premium before coverage will be effective. Remember, once you have coverage, many women’s preventive services – such as well-woman visits and birth control – are available without any cost-sharing.
- Be sure to gather important documents before enrolling. To determine your eligibility to purchase health insurance on the Marketplace and your eligibility for financial assistance, you will need to gather important documents before enrolling. Important income documents that you’ll need are your taxes and W-2s as well as social security cards and immigration documents – gathering this important information before you enroll, will help the process go more quickly.
- Don’t forget these important dates. Open enrollment begins on November 15, 2014 and goes until February 15, 2015. For coverage effective January 1, you need to enroll by December 15.
For more resources during Open Enrollment, including a checklist for women, we’ve got you covered.