Get your 2016 plans now at the Health Insurance Marketplace

Are you looking for quality, affordable health insurance for next year? Here’s how you can apply for a 2016 health plan, renew your current plan, or pick a new plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

David Sayen

David Sayen

It’s quick and easy to apply. Just go to Healthcare.gov and you can see a variety of plans available in Arizona. If you’re new to the Marketplace, you can preview 2016 health plans and prices before you apply.

You’ll see premiums based on your estimated income. And keep in mind that most Arizonans qualify for financial help with their premium costs.

In 2015, 76 percent of Marketplace enrollees in Arizona – more than 117,000 people – received a tax credit, and consumers saved an average of $159 per month. This year, 74 percent of Arizonans can find a plan for $100 or less per month, 68 percent for $75 or less, and 56 percent for $50 or less.

If you’re enrolled in a 2015 Marketplace plan, you can renew or change plans for 2016.
I strongly recommend that you go to Healthcare.gov and update your expected income and household information for 2016 – even if you plan to keep your current insurance.

That’s the only way to be sure your premium tax credit and other savings for 2016 are accurate.

Also, you may find new plans and prices that work better for you.
Keep in mind that if you want your new or updated health coverage to start January 1, 2016, you must enroll or change plans by December 15, 2015.

If you don’t act by Dec. 15, you’ll probably be automatically re-enrolled for January 1 – but your premium tax credit will be based on last year’s information or on information the Marketplace has from other sources. So you might be automatically re-enrolled with no tax credit.

In some cases, you won’t be automatically re-enrolled. You’ll need to take action by Dec. 15 to stay covered Jan. 1, 2016.

You can change your plan any time during Open Enrollment, which ends Jan. 31, 2016. But if you apply after Jan. 15, 2016, your new coverage won’t begin until March 1, 2016.

All plans offered in the Marketplace cover the same set of essential health benefits. Every plan must cover a menu of benefits including emergency services; hospitalization; outpatient care; prescription drugs; pregnancy, maternity and newborn care; lab services; and preventives services such as vaccinations and cancer screenings.

In addition, some plans may offer dental and vision benefits. When comparing plans on Healthcare.gov, you’ll see exactly what each plan offers.

IMPORTANT: If you’re enrolled in a Meritus health plan, it will end on Dec. 31, 2015. After that, Meritus will no longer pay your medical claims. In order to have coverage on Jan. 1, 2016, you must choose and enroll in a new plan no later than December 15.

Five years after the Affordable Care Act became law, more than 17 million Americans have gained coverage and the uninsured rate in this country has plunged by 45 percent. The nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever.

In Arizona, the adult uninsured rate dropped from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 14.5 percent in the first half of 2015. But tens of thousands of Arizonans who are eligible for Marketplace coverage still lack health insurance.

I urge you to check out Healthcare.gov today. The security and safety of health insurance for you and your family may be more affordable than you think!

Editor’s note: Mr. Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Nevada, Hawaii, and the Pacific Territories.

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