Note: 2017 open enrollment begins November 1st, 2016, and runs through January 31st, 2017.
What You Need to Apply for or Auto-Renew a Health Insurance Plan
Open enrollment for 2017 health insurance coverage runs Nov. 1st, 2016, through Jan. 31st, 2017. During that time you can choose a new Obamacare qualified health plan or, depending on your state’s exchange, re-enroll in your current coverage.
Once you’ve selected the best health insurance plan for you and your family, the difficult part is done. Make the application and enrollment process as quick and painless as possible by having the necessary documents and information on hand.
Application and enrollment checklist
If you are changing health plans or applying for health insurance (also known as minimum essential coverage) for the first time—on or away from your state’s exchange—gather the following:
- Social Security numbers and birth dates for each applicant
- Income-related documents for all applicants
- Federal W-2 form
- Recent pay stubs
- Previous year’s tax return
- Policy numbers for each applicant’s current health insurance coverage
- Information about employer-sponsored health plans for which you or your family members are eligible, whether or not you are enrolled in this coverage
- Banking information to pay the first month’s premium
Automatic re-enrollment checklist
All federal Health Insurance Marketplace plans will automatically renew—36 states have this federally facilitated exchanges. Each of the 14 state-based exchanges has been given the option. If your plan is set for auto-renewal, you will receive notification, including 2017 premium rates and other details from your health insurance company.
Here is what you need to do before auto-renewal occurs:
- Make sure the plan you have still works for your and your family
- Does the 2016 premium, deductible and benefits still fit your healthcare needs and household budget?
- Will you still have in-network access to the same providers?
- Are your current prescription medications on the 2017 drug formulary?
- Report income and household size changes to your state’s health insurance exchange, if you receive subsidies—if you fail to do so, you may wind up owing the IRS money when you file your 2016 taxes or losing out on a larger subsidy
Subsidies will renew as well, unless the income verification documents you supplied when you applied for 2016coverage do not match the income you reported at that time.
You can opt out of auto-renewal and purchase a different health insurance coverage from your state’s exchange or in the private marketplace. Keep in mind that only state-based and federally facilitated exchange plans qualify for premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies..
If you need help with the application or auto-renewal process during 2017 open enrollment, contact a licensed health insurance agent or an exchange-based helper. Visit HealthCare.com for more information on health insurance options and the Affordable Care Act.