It’s that time of year — pumpkin spice flavored everything! While that’s true, it’s not what we’ve been looking fowrard to. Nope, not Halloween either. Not even Bosses Day on October 16, although we do have a great one of those (Steve Skardon)! It’s almost the start of OPEN ENROLLMENT for the Health Insurance Marketplace!
That means that our signupSC team has been busy completing the annual navigator re-certification training, securing community-based enrollment assistance locations, such as the Berkeley and Dorchester Prosperity Centers, Aiken Regional Hospital, and libraries in Charleston, Rock Hill, Florence, Bluffton, and reaching out to consumers with whom we’ve worked in the past.
During these calls, navigators are encouraging consumers to complete a Health Insurance Check-Up. This is more important than ever because consumers have a much-shortened window in which to complete the renewal process. For the first time since the Marketplace opened in 2013, open enrollment will only be six weeks long. It will open on November 1 and close December 15. There will not be an opportunity to renew coverage in the new year. To make the best use of the shorter open enrollment window, we encourage you to do the following BEFORE November 1:
- Log into your Healthcare.gov account now. This will give you time to find your user name and password, or to reset your password. You can reset your password online if you remember the answers to the three security questions. If not, you can reset it by calling the Healthcare.gov call center at 1-800-318-2596.
- Verify your contact info. Once you’re able to get into your Healthcare.gov account, check to make sure that your name, street address, mailing address, phone number(s), and email address are correct. If there are any changes, make them now.
- Update income and family members. Let’s look at income first. Your eligibility and the amount of Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC), or the discount that makes your premium affordable, was based on your projection of taxable income for 2017. If you do seasonal or contract work or changed jobs during the year, it’s important that you update this information throughout the year to ensure your discount is accurate and to make the tax reconciliation process easier (and perhaps less painful to your wallet). Now what about family members?If you added a family member during 2017, we hope that you added them quickly to insure them. But if, for some reason you didn’t, now might be a good time to do that. On the other hand, your family may have gotten smaller due to divorce, death, or because your child turned 26. Remember that we’re talking about your tax family only. If you are claiming someone as a dependent on your tax return, they also need to be listed in your Healthcare.gov account — even if you do not need Marketplace health coverage for them. This is especially true if you have children who are covered by Medicaid. They still should be listed on your application with their social security number and date of birth. This helps to ensure that you are getting the maximum discount to make your premium cost as low as possible.
If this all seems overwhelming, don’t stress. That’s why we’re here and why we partner with enrollment assisters around the state who can answer your questions and even meet in person to help you through the process. Call us at 888-998-4646 or schedule an appointment online here.