Dec. 15 is the last day to sign up for health insurance coverage that begins Jan. 1 through Delaware’s Health Insurance Marketplace.
Coverage ends Dec. 31 for all 2014 marketplace plans, regardless of when Delawareans enrolled. If individuals or families bought a health insurance plan this year, you can renew your current plan or enroll in a different plan for 2015. Open enrollment continues through Feb. 15.
While insurance companies will automatically renew many consumers’ coverage, everyone who bought a marketplace plan is strongly advised to go to www.HealthCare.gov to update their household income and other personal information, review their current coverage, and check out the new plans to make sure their current plan still meets their needs and to see if they might be eligible for lower costs. During the last enrollment season, eight of 10 Delawareans got financial help paying for coverage.
Delawareans can enroll in marketplace coverage at www.HealthCare.gov or through an agent or broker. Marketplace guides are available at more than 70 locations statewide to help consumers apply and enroll. To find a guide near you, go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com.
In the first season of open enrollment, 14,397 people enrolled for coverage on Delaware’s marketplace and more than 9,000 people were eligible for coverage through Delaware’s expanded Medicaid program.
“For people with pre-existing conditions, those who are not offered health insurance through their employers, or young people who have turned 26, the marketplace provides a crucial connection to care,” Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. “The health insurance marketplace truly is a place to find affordable, private health insurance – where you can compare the prices, the benefits, and the monthly cost to an individual or family on one website, HealthCare.gov.”
The penalty for going uninsured in 2015 has increased significantly from 2014. Those who are not exempt and do not buy insurance will face payments of $325 per adult (plus $162.50 for each child not covered) or 2 percent of their household income, whichever is higher. That’s up from $95 per adult or 1 percent of income during 2014. Individuals who did not have health insurance coverage during 2014 will pay the fee on the federal income-tax return they file in early 2015; they will pay the penalty for not having coverage in 2015 when they file their taxes in early 2016. Plus, individuals still will be responsible for any medical expenses they incur.
A streamlined HealthCare.gov makes it easier to shop for and enroll in coverage. The application for newcomers involves only 16 screens, down from last year’s 76. Visitors can also shop for and compare plans without creating an account.
In addition to the health insurance marketplace, some residents might be eligible for coverage though Delaware’s expanded Medicaid program, which continues year-round.
For more information go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com or call the federal help center at 1 (800) 318-2596, TTY: 1 (855) 889-4325.