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2017 Open Enrollment: What You Need to Know

Under the Affordable Care Act, Open Enrollment is the time when individuals and families can enroll for health insurance for the upcoming year. If you don’t have health insurance, Open Enrollment is the time to apply. If you do have health insurance and are interested in shopping and comparing other health insurance options that better fit your needs and budget, Open Enrollment is a great time to make a change.

Below is an illustrated guide to help you understand when and how to enroll for health insurance during Open Enrollment to get covered by January 1, 2017, and other important enrollment dates and insurance shopping considerations.

Know These Important Dates

For the 2017 health plan year, Open Enrollment begins on November 1, 2016, and ends on January 31, 2017. However, there are a few dates in between to be aware of:

If you miss the January 31 deadline for 2017 Open Enrollment, you will only be able to enroll in a health insurance plan for 2017 if you experience a qualifying life event.

Be Aware of Tax Penalties for Not Enrolling

Health care coverage is required under the Affordable Care Act. If you do not have health coverage in 2017 and do not qualify for an exemption, you may be required to pay a penalty when filing your 2017 taxes:

  • 2.5 percent of your yearly household income1
    OR
  • The total yearly premium for the national average price of a bronze plan sold through the Marketplace1

See If You Qualify for a Subsidy

The federal government provides financial help in the form of tax credits or subsidies for eligible individuals and families who purchase their own health insurance. In fact, 86 percent of these people received financial assistance from the federal government to help pay premiums.2 Eligibility depends on family size and income.

Use our subsidy calculator to see if you or your family may be eligible for financial assistance.

Choose the Right Health Plan for Your Budget and Needs

Independence Blue Cross offers the lowest-priced plans in the Philadelphia five-county area, including the lowest-priced Bronze and Silver metallic plans.2 You can save even more if you qualify for a health insurance subsidy. Our popular and affordable Keystone HMO Proactive plans let you use any providers, while giving you the choice to save even more on out-of-pocket costs when you choose certain providers within the health plans network.

The Keystone HMO Silver Proactive Value plan is the lowest-priced Silver plan in the region, offering you the lowest medical deductible when you use Tier 1 – Preferred providers and NO deductible for family doctor or specialist visits, lab services, therapies, prescription drugs, and trips to the Emergency Room.

Make Sure Your Preferred Providers Are in the Network

If seeing certain doctors or using certain hospitals or health care facilities are important to you, then be sure that they are covered in your plan’s network. Independence Blue Cross is proud to offer the widest selection in quality care, with over 46,000 providers and over 160 hospitals.

Use the Find a Doctor tool to find out if your current primary care physician (PCP), health care specialists, and facilities are in the network.

Compare Plans and Apply for Coverage

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Have questions? Call 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711) 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday to talk to an Independence Blue Cross sales representative.

1 www.Healthcare.gov/fees-exemptions/fee-for-not-being-covered/

2 Source: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services