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November 15th is right around the corner, and for some people this date is starting to become as stressful as April 15th.  Open enrollment for the health insurance exchange opens on November 15th and closes on February 15, 2015.  If you didn't enroll in a health insurance policy that complied with the Affordable Health Care Act last year, by now you have received a letter stating that your current plan will expire at the end of the year.  So you’re probably thinking; “Okay now I have to dive into this ‘Obamacare’ thing, this should be pleasant.”  Despite what you may have heard up to this point navigating the ACA policies does not have to be an unpleasant experience. 

Exploring your options with a knowledgeable broker is incredibly easy and at no cost to you.  Working with a broker is important because they have spent their time learning the various nuances to exploring coverage and getting you the best product.  Additionally it is their job to find answers to tough questions, you don’t have to waste your time looking through countless websites wondering which information is correct.  Another added benefit to using a broker is that they can compare multiple plans from several carriers so you don’t have to put forth the effort. 

Here is a list of things that we thought were important to highlight that might have changed since you've last explored the health insurance market place, and some helpful tips and reminders entering this year’s open enrollment.

1.      The notion of “pre-existing” conditions is gone.  

2.      Men and Women are no longer viewed differently when it comes to health insurance.

3.      You can get health insurance outside of the open enrollment period but you have to have a qualifying life event (e.g. a birth, a marriage, coverage cancelled by an employer).

4.      You can explore getting financial aid for your health insurance, but in order to do so you have to go through healthcare.gov.  If you explore this route you can still use a broker for help.

5.      There are still a wide variety of plans to choose from; Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans all have various options to explore to find the right plan for you.

6.      Some plans have “Tiers”; this term shouldn't deter you from exploring a plan.  The “Tiers” refer to a grade given to medical facilities ranging from 1-3.  You will be incentivized to choose medical facilities that have a grade of 1. 

This is not an all encompassing “how to” guide for navigating 2015’s open enrollment, it is a reminder that the time period is fast approaching.  Start thinking about your next year’s health insurance decision today and you’ll be prepared tomorrow.  

Contact us today for some help on what can be, at first glance, a confusing topic.
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