Starting on November 15th, the 2015 Open Enrollment Period Health Insurance begins for changes for all individual insurance plans. We expect all carriers to release their rates just before the 15th of November for the 2015. This is for both on the Healthcare.gov or through the various insurance providers. The Open Enrollment period for 2015 is from November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2014. To get coverage for January 1, 2015, you must have your application submitted by December 15, 2014. If you apply by the 15th of the month you can get coverage the first of the following month through the Open Enrollment Period.
Last year we saw many issues with the Healthcare.gov site, this year should be smoother. We have seen many clients who tried to enroll on the Healthcare.gov to help get subsidies that did not know that a local insurance agent can assist with the enrollment process. An agent has a strong understanding of the plans on the market and know how to guide you to find the best plan for your specific situation. The agent can be your advocate should their be any issues with your coverage either on or off the Healthcare.gov site.
We did see people who did make mistakes when they enrolled without assistance purchasing a Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze plan. If you are getting a subsidy, it makes sense to check out the Silver plans because they do offer cost sharing for some who are eligible for a subsidy. Cost sharing does lower your deductible and out of pocket costs automatically. When you work with an agent we can help you see the savings on those plans to ensure you maximize your benefits.
If you are not receiving a subsidy, there is no reason to enroll through HealthCare.gov unless you are looking for a multi-state coverage. You can purchase these plans without HealthCare.gov. Your local agent can help you enroll.
There are three advantages for you to work with a local independent broker to help you sign up for your health plan on or off healthcare.gov. First is a personal advice and guidance to find the best plan for your needs, an advocate to assist you with issues once your policy is issued, and lastly helping others in your community by supporting their local business. If you buy direct, the insurance company will take the commissions that the agent would have made, and the money does not stay in your community.