Just a quick reminder to you all that this is a rare opportunity to sign up for health insurance. Let’s go over the options available in this rare, mid-year, wide-open enrollment period:
- Always check with your employer/HR Department and take a look at their plans FIRST. Employers in Louisiana are quite generous and often subsidize 75-80% of their employees’ plan costs. Many employers also offer family coverage on their health plans. Make this your first step because if you are offered a plan through work, that almost always prevents you from qualifying to get financial assistance to shop for a plan on your own.
- If you are not offered a plan that meets the federal standards for affordable coverage, then you can shop for an individual plan and see if you qualify for premium assistance. Check out healthcare.gov. From there, you can be screened for eligibility in Louisiana’s Medicaid program or federal premium assistance you can use to help purchase private insurance on healthcare.gov. I’m proud to say Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and our sister company Vantage Health Plan, offer most of the coverage on healthcare.gov, and we are in every parish.
- If you need in-person assistance, at no charge to you, call 1-844-GET-BLUE to speak to a licensed agent who can guide you to the best policy for your particular needs. You can also check out getplanoptions.com for even MORE information.
How soon you sign up will determine when you get coverage. Coverage effective dates for this Special Enrollment Period are different from regular enrollment or even normal special enrollment requirements:
- Any enrollment in February must be active on March 1; and
- Any enrollment in March must be active on April 1; and
- Any enrollment in April must be active on May 1; and
- Any enrollment by May 15 (the date the Special Enrollment Period ends) must be active by June 1.
The most important thing to remember is that the federal government is holding a 90-day, wide-open enrollment event, the first of its kind, right now through May 15. You will be asked no health history questions during this event (other than if you use tobacco), and your current medical conditions will NOT affect your eligibility or your rates when you purchase coverage.
Straight Talk is, the time is NOW if you are not covered by health insurance.
To learn more, check out Blue Cross’ press release on this enrollment period, featuring explanations from yours truly. We also have a Spanish version.