Open Enrollment for the 2021 insurance period is set to begin on November 1st, and while many people view as a chore, it’s worth taking the time to understand the process and weigh your options. Spending even just a few minutes doing some research can save you money and grant you access better healthcare by ensuring that you are taking advantage of all the opportunities that Open Enrollment brings.
Take Control of Your Health Insurance
While it’s true that most states no longer have a tax penalty under the individual mandate for those who lack health insurance, the benefits of having a policy make it a wise decision for most people. Health insurance gives you peace of mind that you and your loved ones will be well taken care of in the event of a medical emergency.
Open Enrollment is your chance to take control of your health insurance, during which you can:
- Change your existing policy, which might help save you money
- Access new or more suitable healthcare providers
- Add or change who is included on your policy
What Is Open Enrollment?
Health insurance can be a confusing and complex topic. Navigating the options, parts, co-pays and networks associated with different providers can sometimes seem insurmountable.
That’s why TrueCoverage offers extensive health insurance advice to help people find the best plan for their needs. The Open Enrollment period is the perfect time for you to make use of that advice and take out a new policy for the 2021 plan year.
Open Enrollment Quick Facts
- Open Enrollment runs from Sunday November 1 – Tuesday December 15 2020.
- Coverage starts January 1, 2021.
- Price previews for Marketplace plans will be available just before Open Enrollment starts.
- Enrollment for 2020 is over, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
- Existing plans will roll over unless a subscriber takes action.
What If I Have an Existing Plan?
A lot of people assume that the Open Enrollment period is just for people who do not have health insurance, but it can be a great time to revisit your existing plan as well.
If someone already has a health insurance policy, they can use the Open Enrollment period as a chance to review that policy, shop around, and switch to another plan or provider if their existing one no longer fits their needs.
Over the last year, a lot of insurance companies have changed their plans, and some have removed their policies from marketplaces or modified what they offer.
This means your existing plan may no longer be quite right for you.
Even if the plan is relatively unchanged, your family may have changed. You may have:
- A new job in a different area
- More or fewer people in your household
- A change in your health status, meaning more or fewer doctor’s visits than expected
- A need for a drug that is not on your insurer’s approved list
- A wish to use a specialist that’s not part of your current network
- Plans to start a family in the near future
- Plans for elective treatments
It’s always a good idea to think about your current circumstances, your future plans and whether your health insurance policy meets your needs.
While it is possible to change insurance provider at other times of the year, the annual Open Enrollment period is the easiest time of year to do it, and it’s the ideal time to get a good deal, too.
Are You Making the Most of Your Health Insurance?
In 2019, it is estimated that 92% of Americans had some form of health insurance, with private health insurance being more common than public insurance.
A lot of families shop for the cheapest health insurance that they can find. While this may be suitable if you’re very young, low risk and on a low income, it’s often better for folks to invest a little more in their coverage as they age and as their families grow.
Paying a slightly higher premium comes with perks — typically, you’ll pay a lot less over the course of the year for consultations, treatment and medications.
Take a look at what your health insurance offers currently. Are you taking full advantage of it? If your policy allows you to have regular physicals or other preventative and wellness care, have you been making use of those appointments?
When you’re considering a new policy, think about how often you need to see a medical professional. You can do this by:
- Working out your medical expenses for the previous year
- Considering your future care needs
- Do you have a chronic condition?
- Is your job high-risk?
- Thinking about the rest of your family and their future care needs
- Considering whether you have savings that would cover unexpected co-pays or expenses
Once you’ve worked out your likely healthcare expenditure for the year, talk to an expert and ask them to recommend a plan that will cover those needs.
Adding Family Members to Your Health Insurance
When you purchase a health insurance plan, you have the option of adding dependents.
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a child is classed as a dependent until the age of 26. This means it’s possible for you to keep an adult child on your health insurance even if they have moved out and are now married as long as they are still under 26 years of age.
You can include your own children, foster children or adopted children in your plan. If those children have siblings or children of their own, they can also be included in your plan.
Once a child turns 26, they will need to arrange their own care. Some medium-sized and large employers have an employer health insurance plan that is covered under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), which means the child can ask to have their policy extended for up to 36 months, but once that time period is up, they will need to find their own plan.
Children aren’t the only people who can be added as dependents on health insurance. You may also be able to add elderly relatives if you are responsible for caring for them. However, at age 65 those relatives will become eligible for Medicare.
Why Add People to Your Health Insurance?
Adding children or other relatives that are dependent upon you to your health insurance ensures that they have access to affordable healthcare and is often less expensive than having separate policies for each person.
There are tax exemptions associated with the number of dependents that a person claims, and spreading the out-of-pocket maximum across several people can reduce premiums, too. In the event that someone you care for needs to receive extensive medical care or requires a long course of medication, it can be helpful to have them on a shared policy.
At TrueCoverage, we have a variety of individual and family health insurance options, helping you to access the care you need in an affordable and easy to understand package, whether that’s for yourself or your whole family.
If you’d like to take advantage of the Open Enrollment period for 2021 to change your coverage or take out a new package, browse our range of affordable medical insurance plans or contact us for a free, no obligation quote. We’re here to help you get the best value and peace of mind.