Healthcare Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment Season

by Mary E. McCraw, CFP®

With the end of the year approaching, there are important dates to keep in mind regarding health insurance and other employer benefits. Below are some important dates and considerations, regardless of your health insurance situation.

Open Enrollment with Employer plans

If you are covered under an employer plan, end of year is a common time for Open Enrollment within companies. This is the time each year you are allowed to make changes to various benefit plans. We recommend evaluating all benefits at this time, not just health insurance. Human Resources should be able to provide a summary of current benefits. This is a great time to review retirement plan contributions, life insurance and disability coverage as well.

Medicare Open Enrollment

Annual Open Enrollment – October 15th to December 7th. Open enrollment is the period each year when you are allowed to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, change to a new Medicare Advantage plan, join a prescription drug plan or change your current prescription drug plan. Even if you are happy with your current coverage, this is a great time to review your plan and take notice of any changes being made for next year. Your current plan should have already sent out their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) detailing any changes to the plan starting January 2019.

Health Insurance Exchange Enrollment

Annual Open Enrollment – November 1st to December 15th (for coverage that starts January 1st). Since the launch of the Healthcare Exchanges (Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) there has been a lot of confusion about who should be using this avenue for health insurance. In general, the health exchanges are for two groups of people: those who do not currently have health insurance and those who are purchasing it on their own (not covered by an employer’s plan). Most of our clients are covered under group plans through employers or eligible for Medicare (the exchange is not for Medicare). However, there are situations in which clients lose their group coverage – such as leaving a job, getting divorced or deciding to start their own small business. Also, it may be an option for many adult children who may lose their parent’s coverage before entering a group plan.

If you do not have group coverage or Medicare, you do not have to purchase your health insurance on the exchange. However, there are subsidies available based on income limits and household size. In order to obtain a subsidy, if you qualify, you will need to purchase a plan off of the exchange. You can quickly see if you (or your child) will qualify for a subsidy on www.healthcare.gov. If you do, the entire application process, including selecting a plan, can be completed online. If you do not qualify for subsidy, we recommend contacting an independent insurance agent who can help you evaluate all of your options – both on and off the exchange.

Whatever your situation, we would be happy to help you evaluate your options or refer you to an independent insurance agent for assistance.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by The Arkansas Financial Group, Inc.-“AFG”), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from AFG. Please remember that if you are a AFG client, it remains your responsibility to advise AFG, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. AFG is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the AFG’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request. Please Note: AFG does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to AFG’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

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