What is Open Enrollment and Why is it Important?
Open Enrollment is the yearly period when people in the United States can enroll in individual or family health insurance plans. 2016 Open Enrollment ended January 31, 2016 and Open Enrollment for 2017 begins November 1, 2016 and will last until January 31, 2017. This is a very important time period because if you miss Open Enrollment, you may not be able to enroll in a health insurance plan unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. To qualify for a Special Enrollment Period you must have a Qualifying Life Event, some of which include losing employer-sponsored coverage, having a baby, or getting married.
Since Open Enrollment 2017 is just around the corner, now is the time to begin considering your NC health insurance options. 2016 has brought significant changes to the insurance marketplace. Both United Healthcare and Aetna announced this year that they will be pulling out of North Carolina for 2017. This means that Blue Cross Blue Shield NC may very well be the only company offering health plans in all 100 counties in North Carolina. Cigna has filed for plans in a few select counties throughout the state as well.
The Open Enrollment Period offers residents of NC the opportunity to enroll in health insurance or make changes to their current policy. New rates for 2017 health plans will be available by November 1st and at that time, you will be able to submit an application for coverage. Keep in mind that plans will not be effective until January, 2017 so if you are currently uninsured, you may want to consider temporary coverage until the end of December, 2016.
Under the Affordable Care Act, federal subsidies will also be available for 2017 health plans for NC residents who qualify and will be based on the Federal Poverty Level Chart. NC Residents who fall between the 100% and 400% federal poverty level and who do not have employer coverage available to them can apply for a subsidy to help reduce the cost of their health insurance.
Open Enrollment is an important time of year to obtain the health coverage you need for you and your family for 2017. For more information on North Carolina insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.nchealthplans.com or call our toll free number 888-765-5400 and speak with one of our experienced and professional agents.