Thursday is the Deadline for January Coverage for 2017 Healthcare Open Enrollment
Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa is reminding residents who want to have new health insurance coverage in place on January 1 that Thursday, December 15 is the deadline to do so.
Cioppa says Open Enrollment for individuals to purchase, renew, or change plans for 2017 on the Individual Health Insurance Market will continue through January 31, 2017, but for a plan to be in place and provide coverage by January 1, 2017, it needs to be purchased by the end of the business day Thursday.
Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Maine Community Health Options again have plans for sale for individuals and families both on and off the Healthcare Marketplace. Aetna is also offering plans off the Marketplace.
For those currently without coverage, Cioppa says the annual Open Enrollment period is the only time to purchase health insurance without a special circumstance such as job loss, marriage or divorce, birth or adoption, etc.
Federal tax credits are available to qualified individuals and families who purchase plans through the Healthcare Marketplace. These credits are used to offset the cost of health insurance premiums to make coverage more affordable. Additional assistance with deductibles, copays, and co-insurance is available to those who qualify and purchase a silver plan.
Federal tax penalties will be applied at tax time for individuals and families who do not have a plan with “Minimal Essential Health Coverage” and do not qualify for a “hardship exemption.”
For those who currently have an individual or family plan, Cioppa says taking the time to look at what is being offered for 2017 could save money and provide a more satisfactory provider network or better benefits.
Small employers with fewer than 50 employees can purchase small group insurance once a year during the open enrollment period that runs November 15 to December 15 without meeting the participation levels required during the rest of the year.
For more information about small group options in Maine, visit Maine's Bureau of Insurance site, contact a broker or agent, or call the Bureau at 1-800-300-5000. For information about purchasing coverage through the SHOP Marketplace visit Healthcare.gov's small business portal.
Cioppa says individual tax credits are not available through SHOP, but tax credits are available to qualifying employers with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees making less than $50,000 on average.