Affordable Care Act

Five Reasons to Shop for Obamacare Coverage Before the January 31 Deadline

Published on January 14, 2016

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January 31 may be your last chance to get health insurance for yourself and your family before 2017.
That’s right, the nationwide open enrollment period for individual and family health insurance plans is scheduled to end January 31, 2016.
Whether you’re currently uninsured or stuck in a plan that doesn’t meet your needs, you need to get busy and take advantage of open enrollment before it’s too late.
Need some more motivation? Here are five reasons you should shop for coverage now:

  • If you don’t, you may spend ALL of 2016 uninsured. Unless you get coverage through an employer, these last days of open enrollment may be your ONLY chance to get health insurance coverage until 2017! There are a few exceptions (getting married, having a child, etc.), but if they don’t apply to you and you don’t sign up by January 31, you could end up uninsured for the rest of 2016 – putting you at serious financial risk in case of unforeseen injury or accident.
  • You’re facing the biggest tax penalty ever if you’re uninsured. The Obamacare tax penalty is significantly higher in 2016 than ever before. If you are uninsured for longer than two consecutive months in 2016, the penalty on your federal tax return could be$695 per adult (and $347.50 per child) or 2.5% of your taxable household income, whichever is greater.
  • Some 2015 plans have been cancelled – what about yours? Insurance companies cancelled a lot of old plans as of January 1. Your old plan might be one of them. Did you read all the recent letters from your insurance company, or just toss them in the recycling bin? You might be uninsured right now and not know it.
  • Monthly premiums for your old plan probably just went up, maybe a lot. Even if your old 2015 health plan didn’t go the way of the dodo, chances are that your monthly insurance premiums went up on January 1. Some consumers are seeing rate increases of 20% or more. Again, if you didn’t read all the mail from your insurance company, you may be in for a nasty surprise on your next bill.
  • Your subsidies may already have disappeared. Just because you got government subsidies last year doesn’t mean you’ll continue to get them in 2016, even if you’re sticking with the same health plan. Unless you specifically asked for your subsidies to be automatically recalculated this year, your subsidies ended in December. You may not know it yet, but what you pay toward your monthly premium may go up by $100-$200 or more this month!

To learn more about your coverage options before the January 31 deadline, visit eHealth.com.

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