Seven tips to navigate the 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace re-enrollment

Current enrollees are strongly encouraged to return to the Marketplace to update their application information to ensure they receive the accurate amount of financial assistance.

The Health Insurance Marketplace is open for enrollment for 2015 plans until February 15, 2015. An HHS report shows more than 272,500 Michigan residents signed up in 2014 for qualified health plans. Eighty-seven percent qualified for financial assistance, compared to 85 percent nationally. The average monthly premium, after tax credits, for Michigan consumers was $97. Thirty-nine percent of enrollees pay $50 or less per month after subsidies.

Seven important items to keep in mind as you re-enroll for 2015 coverage follow:

  1. Between October 1 and November 15, 2014, Marketplace enrollees and those eligible to enroll should have received notices from the Marketplace regarding open enrollment and the re-enrollment process. These notices informed consumers of the open enrollment period and the process by which they can update their application information and change their coverage during open enrollment.
  2. They also should have received notices from their issuer regarding renewals of coverage and product discontinuations. The primary purpose of the issuer notice is to inform enrollees if their issuer will be re-enrolling them in the same plan or a similar plan in 2015, and what their premiums will be, including 2014 APTC information.
  3. You can use both the issuer notice and Marketplace notice to ensure you make the most informed decision during the annual open enrollment process. Ask these questions:
  • Were you satisfied with your plan last year?
  • Have you experienced any changes in your health care needs or life circumstances (e.g., Did you move? Did your income change? Did you get married or have a baby?)
  • Does your current plan continue to cover everything you need it to cover? Is your doctor and preferred hospital still in your network? Does your plan still cover your prescription drugs?
  1. Even if you do not think you have any application information to update and would like to re-enroll in their current plan, you should still complete a 2015 application to receive a new eligibility determination. For most users, about 90 percent of this year’s application will be pre-populated with information from last year. However, your eligibility may have changed for Advance Premium Tax Credit or Cost Sharing Reductions due to increased age, adjustments to the Federal Poverty Level or a shift in the cost of the Marketplace benchmark plan (i.e., the second-lowest cost silver plan available through the Marketplace).
  2. You can estimate your health insurance premiums and government subsidies for 2015 Marketplace plans using the Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator. The calculator has been updated with zip code-specific data on 2015 health plans that are being sold through the marketplaces during the open enrollment period. The calculator also helps consumers determine whether they could be eligible for Medicaid.
  3. You can select the same plan using the QHP ID found in the issuer letter. You will be able to change plans throughout the open enrollment period.
  4. The majority of current Marketplace enrollees will be automatically enrolled into 2015 coverage if they do not actively select a plan by December 15, 2014 with 2014 levels of financial assistance. The notice will be sent by mail or electronically in English or Spanish depending on the consumer’s recorded preference.

Michigan State University Extension is providing education about health insurance basics this year, including the why, what and how for making a smart decision. Find out about Smart Choice: Health Insurance Monday webinars, workshops and information being provided by the Affordable Care Act Roadmap.

For more information or assistance, visit HealthCare.gov, or call the Health Insurance Marketplace call center at 1-800‑318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. You can find local application assisters at localhelp.healthcare.gov or Enroll Michigan or some private insurance companies with plans in the Marketplace. For more answers to your questions about health insurance, go to healthcare.gov Q&A or the Health Insurance FAQs - eXtension.

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