Tag Archives: OEP

Shopping in the Marketplaces

A Different Kind of Mall

Shopping season is here! And not just for the holidays. The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is now in full swing for you to buy health insurance too. It’s time to start comparing plans, and you should start with the marketplaces.

State Public Marketplaces

The Affordable Care Act requires each state have a Public Exchange, or Marketplace. These are like an online mall where you can compare the price and benefits of each product, much like you would with a big purchase like a television, a phone or a mattress. Only, in the exchanges, you’re comparing individuals’ health insurance plans.

Individual plans are what you shop for if you don’t have insurance through your employer and you don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid.

Our Private Marketplace

Health Alliance has its own Public Marketplace too. This shows you only our plans available in the Public Marketplace. You can find our plans in the state Public Marketplace too, but if you already know you would like the customer service and personal attention of Health Alliance, you can compare plans in our Public Marketplace with less clutter and confusion.

To put this in easier terms, if you know you want Levi jeans, finding what you want in a Levi jeans store will be easier than shopping in a department store. Shopping in Health Alliance’s private marketplace is no different.

Our Direct Marketplace

You can also shop for individual plans in our Direct Marketplace. It has all of our private plans, which offer more plan, doctor, and drug choices.

It is more like a specialty store that has many options, like going to Best Buy to shop for televisions. Here, you can pay more for premium features if want them, or you can find something that balances both price and benefits.

Learn more about the exchanges, or start shopping for plans at HealthAlliance.org or by calling us at 1-877-686-1168.

Shop Online for Health Insurance

New to Shopping for Health Insurance?

If you’ve never shopped for health insurance before, it can be a little scary. We are going to make the journey easier this Open Enrollment Period. Check back each week for another post that helps you shop for a Health Alliance plan.

We’ll Start with the Open Enrollment Period.

The Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is from November 15 to February 15 this year. Each fall, the government picks a time that you can buy insurance for the next year.

What happens if You Don’t Enroll by February 15?

You will have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period (fall of 2016), or have a life-changing event, like getting married or having a baby, that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period.

After February 15, most people will have to pay a penalty for not having a plan, and worse yet, they’ll still have to pay for 100%of their medical costs. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Can You Change Your Plan After the OEP?

No, you would have to wait until the 2016 OEP to change plans. If you’re unhappy with your current plan, now is the time to take action!

How Does the Government Know If You Have Insurance?

They’ll ask you on your taxes. Health insurance companies like Health Alliance will also turn in information to the IRS telling them who has a qualified health plan (QHP) through us.

What’s a Qualified Health Plan?

A Qualified Health Plan (QHP) is a plan that is certified by the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. That means it will include all the benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires and meets all of the spending limits and rules of the ACA.

Why Should You Buy Health Insurance Instead of Paying the Fine?

Sometimes, especially when you’re young and healthy, it seems like paying a one-time fine could be a better deal than paying a monthly insurance premium.

But in that case, you need to weigh the risk with the money. The average hospital stay for people 18 to 44 years old is $7,400.

The average cost of a broken arm for a simple break is $2,500-$3,500. If it was bad break, it can be several times more than that.

Can you afford to pay $2,000 out-of-pocket? What about $10,000? What if you were in an accident or needed surgery, would the cost of taking care of yourself ruin you financially? When you think about it that way, the cost of health insurance is a good investment. Learn more about insurance on our website.

When you’re ready to start shopping, Health Alliance can help you. Visit HealthAlliance.org or call us at 1-877-686-1168 to learn more.

Join Us at Our Enroll Expo

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UPDATE: please be advised that the Urbana Plaza Hotel & Convention Center, or the former Holiday Inn, is now called the Wyndham Garden Hotel.

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Summer Relaxing with a SEP

What’s So Special About Summer?

Didn’t buy health insurance by the deadline? Had some unexpected changes since then and need a plan, fast? A Special Enrollment Period (SEP) might be right for you. We have just what you need this summer to take a little of that heat off.

Dog Days
  1. Ice Cream
  2. Humidity More Ice Cream
  3. Getting a Special Chance to Buy Health Insurance

Every year, as summer turns to fall, and fall to winter, millions of Americans buy health insurance. During that season, the government gives everyone a chance to buy the plan they need, but by early spring, time’s up!

But here’s some good news, everyone knows the world doesn’t stop turning during the summer months. That’s why some special rules help you out when life gets interesting.

Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) are special chances to buy or make changes to your health insurance plan the rest of the year. Here’s a quick Q&A on how they work.

Interested in signing up or need to learn more? Give us a call at 1-888-382-9771! We’re here to help.

Q:  What’s an SEP?

A: After March 31, only people with a qualifying life event can change their individual or family plan or enroll in a new plan. That’s called having an SEP.

Q: What’s a qualifying life event?

A: Events include:

  • Getting married
  • Having, adopting, or the placement of a child
  • Permanently moving to a new area with different health plan options
  • Losing other health coverage because
    • You lost your job
    • You don’t work enough hours to stay on your employer’s plan
    • Your employer stops paying for your plan or stops paying as much
    • Your plan doesn’t cover the essential health benefits as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
    • A big increase in how much you pay for your plan

Q: Is a change in my income a qualifying life event?

A: For people who already have a qualified health plan, a change in income or household status can be a qualifying life event. Both of these events might change how much government help you can get to pay for your plan.

Don’t forget, you can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time.

Q: Why don’t I always qualify for an SEP if I lose my coverage?

A: Some events don’t count as a qualifying event:

  • Losing your plan because you didn’t pay your premiums
  • Choosing on your own to quit other health coverage
  • Losing coverage that’s not minimum essential coverage, like a short-term plan or (in some cases) a catastrophic plan

Q: What if I don’t have a qualifying life event?

A: You have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which will begin during the fall. The government sets the start and end dates of OEP, not Health Alliance.

You can enroll in a Short-Term plan at any time. But remember, they don’t meet the requirements of the ACA for being a qualified health plan, which means you’ll have to pay a tax penalty in 2015.

Q: How long do I have to enroll in a plan after a qualifying event?

A: 60 days.

Q: How do I enroll?

A: You get to choose how you’d like to enroll. Find what works best for you, and if you need help along the way, call us at 1-888-382-9771. Or if you’re in the Champaign area, stop by our office at 206 W. Anthony Drive (near Alexander’s Steakhouse) for help!

Q: When will my coverage start?

A: Your start date depends on your qualifying event.

If you have questions about an SEP or about your situation, give us a call at 1-888-382-9771 or stop by our office—we’re more than happy to help you find the answers.