It’s open enrollment season and everyone needs to enroll in a health insurance plan. Yes, millennials, that means you, too. What exactly does this mean for you?
Millennials, those of you in the 18 to 34 age range, may have employer sponsored health insurance. If you’re fortunate enough to have health care included in a benefit package, enroll now! You may be under age 26, which would mean that your parents can cover you under their health insurance plan. But what happens if neither is possible?
Why is health insurance important for you? Especially if you’re healthy and strapped for cash? Even if you don’t get sick often, a serious accident or illness could result in some serious medical bills that will plague you for years.
The good news is that you can purchase health insurance from your state’s public health insurance exchange. All plans must include “essential health benefits”. This includes preventative services such as shots and screening tests at no cost to you. You would, however, be expected to pay some of the cost of hospitalization or emergency care. The type of care you buy will determine how much insurance would pay for other services.
You may also qualify for a federal subsidy when you purchase health insurance from a public exchange. What you will pay for your coverage will depend upon your income in 2016. In order to qualify for a subsidy, your income must be between 100 and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or $11,770 to $47,080. Under the federal health care law, the status of Medicaid expansion in your state may impact the availability of these subsidies.
Not purchasing insurance won’t save you money. The IRS will impose a fine unless you qualify for a hardship exemption. The penalty for 2016 will be $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of your annual income above the tax filing threshold for an individual of $10,150, whichever is higher.
Public exchanges offer many different plans, and selecting the best plan may be a confusing proposition for you. Your state’s website or healthcare.gov offer calculators, telephone assistance and in person navigators to assist you. Enrollment for the state health insurance exchange runs until January 31, 2016, but December 15, 2015 is the last day to get in if you want your coverage to begin January 1.
For additional information, contact EAB HealthWorks.