What is Open Enrollment?

You may be hearing the term “open enrollment.” Toward the end of the calendar year, this term becomes especially relevant. So, what does it mean?

Open enrollment is the period of time during which you can enroll in a health insurance plan. Depending on where you get your health insurance, this time period may or may not fall at the end of the year. Generally, it is the only time of year you can enroll in new coverage or change your existing coverage. Exceptions may be made in the case of life changes like marriage, divorce, or childbirth.

If you get your insurance through the Affordable Care Act, you are buying insurance through the health exchange. When you hear the term Obamacare, it refers to this type of insurance. Open enrollment has just begun for Obamacare. To enroll in this health insurance for the 2018 calendar year, you must sign up between November 1, 2017 and December 15, 2017. You can do this through healthcare.gov or through your state marketplace.

If you get your insurance through your employer, ask your employer when open enrollment is. You likely will have enrolled in the insurance plan when you started working for the company. After that, there is usually one month out of the year during which you can re-enroll for another year or make changes to your policy. Ask your employer, typically the human resources department, when the enrollment period is and what forms you will need to complete.

Other health insurance options may not have specific open enrollment periods. For example, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, allow you to apply at any time.

Enrollment for Medicare is based on age. You can enroll for Medicare at age 65 years. The enrollment period begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and ends 3 months after your 65th birthday.

Although the fate of Obamacare is currently in question, as of this writing, open enrollment is open. If you plan to use this health insurance, be sure to sign up during open enrollment. The deadline is December 15.

Do you want more guidance as you choose which health insurance plan is best for you and your family? Get my book Easy Healthcare: Choose Your Health Insurance. In it, I walk through everything you need to know, including what kinds of health plans may be available to you, what information you should gather before choosing a plan, and some of the terms you will want to know.

One Question to Ask in the Emergency Room

When you’re being rushed in to the emergency room after an accident, one of the furthest things from your mind is asking that doctor if they take your insurance. However, in reality, this is one of the first questions you should ask. Most people don’t realize that they can be out of network with the doctors who are saving their lives, or even worse, the hospital in which their life was saved.

Unfortunately, you can’t assume that the physician who is caring for you is in your network. If you’ve ever spent an extended amount of time in the hospital, you know that many different doctors pop in and out of your room all day long. So it’s up to you to ask if they take your insurance; if not, be prepared to pay.

States such as California are making sure patients no longer get bills from out-of-network doctors. As of last month patients will be able to rest easy knowing that if their insurance is in network with the hospital they are in, they will not be treated by any out-of-network doctors. This law is designed to help the patient. So many people are getting hit with out-of-network doctors’ bills, and with the price of insurance already being extremely high, it’s important that we do everything we can to keep costs down.

What do you think about this law? Have you ever had this happen to you? Do they do this in in your state?

 

To learn more about choosing your insurance pick up my workbook Easy Healthcare: Choose your insurance.

Is Your Health Insurance Cancelled?

Unfortunately, the future of health insurance is very uncertain right now.

Did you know that a group of 13 male, Republican Senators is currently working on a draft bill of the repeal/replace Obamacare behind closed doors?

The group of Senators claimed they are close to having a proposal to take to the floor.

The bill has been drafted behind closed doors, with many senators unaware of any details. Some Democrat Senators have expressed outrage at the closed-door approach to the drafting.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R – S.C. stated that the bill is being drafted from a one-party perspective because no Democrat is willing to help with the draft. He said that although this is not the ideal approach, it’s the only way they are able to draft the bill.

In 2017, approximately 12.2 million people were enrolled or automatically re-enrolled in a Affordable Care Act Marketplace plan (“Obamacare Exchange.”)

The changes to the healthcare bill will affect millions of people, yet we know very little about the potential changes.

The Senate Committee has stated that they will submit the draft bill to the Congressional Budget Office prior to releasing to the public, for nonpartisan analysis of things such as the cost, and how many people will gain or lose coverage, if enacted.

Once the bill is drafted, there are still many uncertainties.

Many experts have stated that the chances of it passing is very unlikely. No Democrats are expected to vote to repeal Obamacare. Republicans can’t lose more than two votes to pass the bill, and several Republicans have already expressed concerns.

What are your thoughts on the replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act? Would you like there to be more transparency?

Get involved by contacting your representatives to let them know your opinions!

To learn more about health and women’s health check out the Women’s Mind Body Wellness Summit. It contains 6 interviews by top female health professionals plus two workout videos and 3 bonus videos on mind-body wellness with MyHealthSpin Founder Lori-Ann Rickard.