Delaware will launch the second open enrollment period of its Health Insurance Marketplace will run from Nov. 15, 2014 - Feb. 15, 2015, and is ready to build on the success of season one in which 14,400 Delawareans signed up for private health coverage. Individuals must sign up by Dec. 15 for coverage to be effective Jan. 1. Policies for all current enrollees expire on Dec. 31.
Key features of the Health Insurance Marketplace in Delaware for 2015 include:
- More choice: People who are re-enrolling or enrolling for the first time will have more plans to choose from: 23 plans vs. 19 in 2014. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna Health, and Aetna Life Insurance administer the plans.
- A streamlined HealthCare.gov that makes it easier to shop for and enroll in coverage, including an application for newcomers that involves only 16 screens, down from last year’s 76 screens. Visitors can also shop for and compare plans without creating an account.
- Health benefits that include coverage of pre-existing conditions, outpatient care, emergency services, hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health and substance-use disorder services, lab services, pediatric services and more.
- A higher penalty for going uninsured. Those who are not exempt and do not buy insurance for 2015 will pay $325 per adult (plus $162.50 for each child not covered) or 2 percent of their household income, whichever is higher.
- A broader and more accessible network of in-person assistance, including more than 70 locations statewide that are staffed by certified marketplace guides who are trained to help consumers through the application and enrollment process.
- Federal financial assistance that in 2014 helped to lower the cost of coverage for eight out of 10 Delawareans.
- The debut of the online SHOP Marketplace (Small Business Health Options) for businesses with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees may qualify for a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit worth up to 50 percent of their premium costs.
- A redesigned ChooseHealthDE.com website that includes an interactive tool for consumers to find in-person assistance from marketplace guides, a penalty calculator that will give a rough estimate of what you will pay if you do not have health insurance in 2015, and a link to certified agents and brokers.
All plans purchased through the marketplace anytime in 2014 expire Dec. 31. If you bought a health insurance plan this year you can renew your current plan or enroll in a different plan for 2015.
While insurance companies will automatically renew many consumers’ coverage, everyone who bought a marketplace plan should go to HealthCare.gov to update their household income and other personal information, review their current coverage, and check out the new plans. “We strongly encourage consumers to make sure their current plan still meets their needs and to see if they might be eligible for lower costs,” DHSS Secretary Landgraf said.