The official Open Enrollment period for 2017 begins on November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

  • November 1, 2016 – First day you can apply or change current coverage for a 1/1/17 effective date
  • December 15th, 2016 – Last day to apply in order for your coverage to be in effect with a 1/1/17 effective date
  • January 31st, 2016 – This is the last day to apply for coverage for plan year 2017

If you miss the Open Enrollment window you will not have coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment, which is along the lines of having a baby, losing your job, moving out of state or other “major” events.

There are tax penalties which will be assessed at tax time if you are not enrolled in a qualified health plan, for 2017 these fines are:

  • 5% of your income, or $695 per adult (whichever is greater) for each child that amount is $347.50 with a maximum penalty set at $2,085

What is a “Qualified Health Plan”? These are plans that must, by law cover the following 10 essential health benefits they are:

  1. Preventive Care and Wellness Services
  2. Lab Tests
  3. Dental and Vision care for children under the age of 18
  4. Prescription Drugs
  5. Emergency Care
  6. Inpatient Hospitalization
  7. Outpatient care, including chronic disease management
  8. Pregnancy and Newborn Care
  9. Rehabilitation Services and Devices
  10. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Help Paying for your Insurance

Your family size and income will determine your eligibility for tax credits. You may qualify for a premium tax credit to help pay for the cost of your insurance premiums if your family income falls between 100 and 400% of the federal poverty level.

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If you have suffered a hardship, you may not be required to buy health insurance if you qualify for a hardship exemption. These include the following:

  • Being insured for less than three months out of the year
  • You are a victim of domestic violence or suffered from a natural or human-caused natural disaster
  • You are not in the U.S. legally
  • You are incarcerated
  • You have been evicted or have suffered bankruptcy
  • A close family member has died, or you had unexpected expenses related to caring for an elderly, ill or disabled family member