FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) If you’re buying health insurance outside of a job-based plan, you might be in luck this fall.
This year citizens will have more time to sign up, more free help choosing a plan and more likely to qualify for benefits to help lower the cost of a health plan.
“It’s a really great time to start looking at your options,” said Dr. Julie Daftary, chief medical officer of Indiana Medicare and Retirement. “Whether you are looking for a health plan for the first time or really looking at your current plan and how it meets your needs. It is always a good time to start exploring the benefits and services that may be available to you.”
The open enrollment period for health insurance coverage for 2022 through Marketplace begins on November 1 and runs through January 15, 2022. Consumers will need to register by December 15 if they need coverage to start by January 1, 2022.
Do you need health insurance?
The short answer is yes. Everyone needs some type of health insurance and you must re-enroll in health insurance every year.
Health insurance or medical insurance is a type of insurance that covers medical expenses that arise due to illness. These expenses may be related to hospital costs, medication costs, or doctor’s consultation fees.
While some employers offer health insurance, others do not.
But what is the best coverage for you and your family?
Health insurance benefits
Health insurance provides financial protection in the event of a serious accident or illness. For example, a broken leg can cost up to $7,500. Health coverage can help protect you from high and unexpected costs.
Getting recommended preventive services is an essential step to good health and well-being.
Health insurance basics terms
When it comes to choosing a health care plan for many first-time health insurance shoppers, there are several key terms they may not know:
- excellent: The advance amount you will pay each month for health insurance
- deductible: How much you will pay for health care services before your insurance starts
- Joint Payment: Also called a co-pay, it’s a fixed amount that you’ll pay for certain services or medication, even if you reach your discount amount.
- currency insurance: Unlike co-pay, which is a fixed amount, co-insurance is a fee you pay that is a percentage of the cost of the covered service.
- RegisterA time of year when residents can enroll or update their health insurance coverage.
Where do you register for health insurance?
Most employers offer some time to a health insurance plan. If you’re signing up for a plan through your employer, you can only ask a co-worker or your HR representative questions about benefits.
One of the first tabs that opens when you go to HealthCare.gov shows how to start the registration process. However, for those who register with the Affordable Care Act, the number of options can be overwhelming.
If you are registering for health insurance, you can do so online, by mail or you can contact an authorized registration agent or professional to help you. One way to find a specialist is through the Indiana Navigator. Their job is to assist consumers with the health insurance application process and Marketplace registration questions. There are navigators in every county in Indiana.
How much is health insurance?
The cost of health insurance will be different for each person and each family.
The NAIC Health Insurance Shopping Tool can help consumers understand how different policies support their health care needs. The tool provides a 3-step process for comparing different health insurance policies.
The Health Insurance Market Calculator, developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, may also be useful. The calculator will estimate health insurance premiums and benefits for people who buy market coverage. With the calculator, you can enter your income, age, and family size to estimate your eligibility for benefits and how much you can spend on health insurance. You can also use the calculator to estimate your eligibility for Medicaid. Since eligibility requirements may vary by state, please contact your state’s Medicaid office.
What is Medicare?
If you are 65 or older, you qualify for Medicare. It’s a federally administered program – the government pays for a lot of your health care costs. You may also qualify if you have certain disabilities. For those already enrolled in Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, the open enrollment period for switching your 2022 supplemental health and prescription health plans runs through December 7.
Consumers in Indiana who currently have Marketplace coverage, or will need it in 2022, should make time to shop for plans through Healthcare.gov.
What happens if you do not have health insurance?
If you do not have health insurance, you will have to pay a tax penalty (fine), unless you qualify for an exemption. Exemptions include:
- You are not a US citizen, US citizen, or alien who is legally resident in the United States
- You have no insurance for less than three consecutive months during the year
- You won’t file a tax return because you don’t make enough money
- Cannot get Medicaid because Indiana did not expand Medicaid
- Work for a participating ministry of health care or part of a recognized religious group that objects to health insurance
- A member of an Indian tribe recognized by the government
- They are in prison
If you do not have an exemption, the penalty for not having insurance will rise each year. The average fee is $695 per adult for the year ($347.50 per child under 18) up to $2,085 per family. For example, Mary and Bailey have a family income of $20,000 a year and one child.
As for Medicaid, Dr. Daftary says you will be enrolled in Medicaid but it may not be the best plan for you.
Beware of scams
When looking for health insurance, it’s wise not to place your information on random websites or click on health insurance ads.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scammers who take advantage of the fact that people admit health insurance. Dr. Daftary’s advice is to go directly to Healthcare.gov.
Conclusion: Sign up
Although signing up for health insurance may be confusing at first, it is very important to your wallet and health.