If you are uninsured, aren’t offered health insurance from your job and don’t have coverage through a government program, you might want learn more about the open enrollment period to purchase individual insurance. The open enrollment period started on November 15.
The open enrollment window is open between November 15, 2014 and February 15, 2015 to help those seeking individual health insurance for 2015, both on the federal online Marketplace and for plans purchased directly from insurance companies. If you purchase insurance directly from an insurance company or are insured through the Marketplace, you can also re-enroll in coverage for 2015 during open enrollment.
The federal government created the open enrollment period for people seeking health insurance to sign up without having to worry about being denied coverage because of their health status. Those with health insurance coverage through their employer or government programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, have differing enrollment periods.
During this period, North Dakotans have more options than ever before to purchase health insurance coverage. You can:
- Visit our website at www.BCBSND.com/shop and shop for insurance
- Go to one of our 8 offices throughout the state for assistance
- Call our dedicated sales consultants at 1-800-280-BLUE (2583)
- Go to www.healthcare.gov to search or enroll in Marketplace plans
- Contact your local insurance broker
As part of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), most Americans are now required to have qualifying health insurance coverage, or face a tax penalty when they file their annual federal income tax returns. To avoid this penalty for the 2015 tax year, you can enroll by December 15, 2014 to have coverage starting on January 1, 2015.
Despite numerous technical glitches, more than 10,000 North Dakotans purchased 2014 coverage through the online Marketplace (or exchange) at www.HealthCare.gov. If you are currently enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plans, you will be automatically re-enrolled in your same plan for 2015 unless you contact your insurance company (cost sharing details and premiums may change for 2015).
Can I get help with the cost of my premiums?
For those purchasing coverage through the Marketplace, the federal government provides tax credits to help offset the cost of marketplace health insurance premiums for those who qualify. To find out if you qualify, you can use the Tax Credit Calculator at www.BCBSND.com/shop, and follow links to shop and enroll in Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota plans on the Marketplace.
How much coverage do I need?
The Affordable Care Act established levels of coverage through metallic plans. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and other insurers in the state can offer the metallic (bronze, silver, gold, platinum coverage) plans through the Marketplace, as well as directly to consumers.
If your employer offers health insurance, you can also purchase insurance from your job, or through government programs, if you qualify.
Health insurance can be confusing. Let us know if you have any questions.
Ryan Schuster is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.