Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace has begun and will last until Jan. 31, 2016. During this time, individuals may sign up for health insurance at healthcare.gov.
According to Medicare.gov, Medicare enrollment has an earlier deadline, Dec. 7.
For those continuing their Marketplace plans, changes must be made by Dec. 15.
Individuals can locate and compare plans at the Health Insurance Marketplace. Those who have not used the Marketplace before can learn more here.
On the Health and Human Services blog, Cynthia Robinson, a self-employed mother who had congenital joint problems and several spinal surgeries, reduced health insurance costs for herself and her daughter from $1200 a month, to $438 monthly.
According to HealthCare.gov, some people qualify for Advanced Premium Tax Credits, which are “based on your estimate of your expected household income for 2016,” and can “lower your monthly insurance bill (or ‘premium’).”
The higher-priced Silver plan may offer additional savings in fewer costs per visit. “If you have a Silver plan and qualify for out-of-pocket savings, the deductible is thousands of dollars less than a typical Bronze plan’s,” according to the website.
If you’d like to know if your income qualifies you for additional savings, click here.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, coverage “includes prevention, early prevention, and treatment of mental and/or substance use disorders as an ‘essential health benefit’ that must be covered by healthplans” offered through the Marketplace.
About half of all Americans meet the criteria for mental illness at some point in their lives, according to the agency.
“The Open Enrollment Period is the only time all year when every Medicare beneficiary can change coverage, and the options can be confusing,” according to Justice in Aging, an organization that “fights senior poverty through law.”
The organization has created a resource for advocates serving low-income, Medicare-eligible clients.
According to Medicare.gov, the process to apply for Medicare has been simplified and doesn’t require a visit to the Social Security office. “Use our online application to sign up for Medicare. It takes less than 10 minutes. In most cases, once your application is submitted electronically, you’re done.”
Individuals needing it may apply for Medicare at this link.
According to Medicare.gov, people with disabilities who already collect benefits “automatically get Part A and Part B after you get disability benefits from Social Security or certain disability benefits from the RRB for 24 months.” People who have Lou Gehrig’s Disease “automatically get Part A and Part B the month your disability benefits begin.” Pending meeting some requirements, those with End-Stage Renal Disease may qualify for Medicare.
Need more help? You can call staff at Healthcare.gov with questions between 9 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Friday, Eastern Time, at 1-800-706-7893 (TTY: 711).