It’s now or never. Come get signed up!
That is the message from the Nevada Health Link and insurance companies who offer plans that qualify individuals under the Affordable Care Act(ACA).
In past years, you could buy a major medical plan any time during the year. But since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in January of 2014, the times you can sign up are more and more limited. In 2014, the open enrollment was from Oct. 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. A special enrollment period allowed those who had trouble with their applications to also enroll from April 1 through May 30.
In 2015, however, the window shrunk to Nov. 15, 2015 to Feb. 15, 2015. And this year, it includes plans that are not sold through the Nevada Health Link. It is ALL plans, on and off the exchange.
If you do not sign up for a plan by midnight, Feb. 15 you will have to go the entire year without creditable coverage and be fined for not having creditable coverage. The fine this year is $325 per adult, $162.50 for children or 2 percent of your gross adjusted income -- whichever is more.
The only individuals who will be allowed to get insurance outside of open enrollment are those who have a qualifying life event which includes a change of income of more than 20 percent, marriage, divorce, loss of other creditable coverage (within 60 days), movement from one state to another or individuals turning 26 and dropping off their parents’ insurance. Birth of a child or loss of a family member through death are other qualifying events.
The only option for health insurance, if you don’t sign up by Feb. 15 or have a qualifying life event, is a short-term medical policy which is non-compliant with the ACA and which will not allow you to avoid a fine. Short term plans also take into consideration pre-existing conditions and do not, generally, provide free preventive care -- one of the hallmarks of ACA-qualified plans. Short term plans can go for as much as six months at a time and can fill the void for coverage, even if they don’t help you avoid the fine.
Affordable Healthcare Pros offers plans on and off the Nevada Health Link, as well as short-term plans. Please call us at 775-450-6769 or 775-450-6867 or come by our office at 2307 North Carson Street in Carson City. Whatever you do, make it before Feb. 15!
Ron Bliss is a former sportswriter who has been selling health insurance for five years. He is certified on both the Nevada Health Link and with Covered California. He writes a weekly blog on health insurance. He can also be reached at 775-224-7169.