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Everything you need to know about the Open Enrollment period starting November 1

The open enrollment period for purchasing individual or family coverage through BeWellNM has arrived!  Beginning November 1, 2015 www.bewellnm.com will be open for those seeking health coverage.  The enrollment period is only three months long, ending January 31, 2016.  Here are some important things to keep in mind if you intend to purchase or renew coverage:

Before shopping on the exchange, see if you are eligible for Medicaid

You can visit https://www.yes.state.nm.us to sign up for Medicaid.  Be sure to seek out free enrollment assistance if you want help with your application by calling Health Action New Mexico at (505) 322-2152. 

Medicaid is a health coverage program that provides cost-free insurance to low income Americans.  Individuals making less than about $16,105 a year and families of four making less than about $32,913 a year are eligible for Medicaid.  Medicaid is available throughout the year, unlike plans acquired on the exchange, which can only be purchased during the open enrollment period.  If you are 1) between the ages 19-64 and 2) are a U.S. citizen or lawfully present immigrant and meet household income requirements, you may be eligible for free health insurance.

 

You can also use the chart below to see whether you and your family qualify for Medicaid:

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Health Coverage and Financial Help

If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, the next step is to visit http://www.bewellnm.com, where you can shop for health coverage.  It is important to keep in mind that the window for obtaining coverage through the exchange is limited, lasting from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016. 

You may be eligible for financial help.  You will need to know your household income to determine your eligibility.  Check out the Get Covered subsidy calculator to see how much you can save on your health plan. Right now, you can view price estimates for plans that you can purchase that factor in tax credits at https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans/.  Insurance lingo can often be confusing.  If you run in to any terminology that you are unfamiliar with, check out beWellNM’s health care glossary.  You can always call Health Action NM’s office if you have any questions.

Shopping for insurance can be a daunting task.  Luckily there are experts available to help you find the plan that is right for you. Health Action New Mexico can connect you to a trusted local assister near you.  Click here or call our office at (505) 322-2152 and we will help you arrange a free appointment.  BeWellnm is setting up enrollment sites throughout the state.  Right now, you can visit the Enrollment Assistance Center at 2301 San Pedro NE near Indian School in Albuquerque.  Check back on this post for updates on enrollment sites in other parts of the state.

Shop around before renewing your health plan

If you purchased a plan on the exchange last year then you will be re-enrolled in to the same plan for 2015 unless your insurance company stops offering your plan or you choose to purchase a new plan.  If you like the coverage you received you should still be sure to review your plan before renewing it, as the premiums, co-pays, and other aspects of your plan’s cost may have changed.  In other words, you may pay more than you did last year for the same plan, so be sure to review your plan and shop around.  There may also be new plans offered on beWellnm that are more affordable or better suit you and your family’s needs.

Sign up by December 15th if you want your coverage to start January 1st

While the enrollment period lasts through February 15th, you can start using your coverage at the beginning of 2015 if you sign up by December 15th.  If you wait until the end of the enrollment period to sign up for coverage, your insurance will kick in on March 1st, 2016.

The penalty for lacking insurance is higher than it was last year

If you don’t obtain some form of health coverage, you may have to pay a shared responsibility fee.  The penalty was the greater of $325 per adult or 2% of income in 2015.  This year the penalty has increased to the greater of $695 per adult or 2.5% of income.  You can avoid the penalty by enrolling in health coverage.

A hardship exemption exists for those who truly cannot afford insurance.  To see if you qualify for a hardship exemption, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/exemptions-from-the-fee/.

Health Action