Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Ready to Buy Health Insurance
Why Should I Get a Health Plan From Independence Blue Cross?
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in the Philadelphia region. For nearly 80 years, we’ve provided families with the security and stability that comes with a Blue Card — the powerful assurance that high-quality care is at your fingertips. We’ve been at the forefront of leading change that improves health, and today, more than ever, we’re recognized and trusted not just for the quality and security we provide, but also as an industry leader and innovator with the ideas, influence, and resources to change health care for the better.
When Do I Need to Start Buying Health Insurance?
Open enrollment for buying health insurance for the 2017 calendar year begins November 1, 2016 and ends January 31, 2017.
You can still apply for health coverage outside of open enrollment if you have certain changes in your life — known as a qualifying life event — including loss of insurance through your employer, marriage, the birth or adoption of a baby, or a recent move into a new coverage area.
Should I Apply Through the Health Insurance Marketplace or Through Independence Blue Cross?
If you don’t qualify for financial assistance, you can apply for a health plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace or shop for a variety of private health insurance plans directly through Independence Blue Cross.
What’s the Best Health Insurance Plan For Me?
When choosing the best health insurance plan for you or your family, consider how much health care you plan to use, how much you want to spend, and whether you qualify for financial assistance. Independence Blue Cross offers a range of plans to fit your needs and budget. Learn more about how to shop our health insurance plans.
Does Health Insurance Automatically Come With Dental and Vision Coverage?
Adult Dental and Adult Vision coverage can be added to your Independence Blue Cross medical coverage at any time throughout the year. Learn more about adding dental and vision insurance.
I Don’t Have Insurance Through Work or I Am Unemployed. What Are My Coverage Options?
If your employer doesn’t offer coverage or if you are unemployed, you can apply for a health plan through a private health insurance company such as Independence Blue Cross or through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you lose your job, you may qualify to apply for health insurance during a special enrollment period.
How Can I Get a Health Insurance Quote?
Health insurance quotes for monthly premium rates will be provided when you apply for a health plan. You will have to enter the following information in order to receive your quote: Name, ZIP code, date of birth, gender, tobacco usage, and, if necessary, your relationship to the person seeking insurance. If you are seeking a quote outside of open enrollment, you will need to list the life event that qualifies you for a special enrollment period.
Do I Need to Give My Social Security Number to Enroll?
Yes. We need your Social Security number to verify your identity when enrolling for health insurance. Our site uses the latest security methods to protect the information you give us.
What If I Don’t Have an Email Address?
There are many sites where you can register for a free email account. Some examples are Gmail and Yahoo Mail. If you prefer not to create an email address, paper applications are available by request. You can request a paper application by calling 1-888-475-6206 (TTY: 711) or by using our secure web-based form.
Can I Apply for Health Coverage for My Family?
Yes. You can apply for health coverage as a(n):
- Individual and spouse/domestic partner
- Individual and child(ren)
Can I Add My Spouse or Child at a Later Date?
Yes. You can apply to add a spouse or child at a later date if you experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, a change in employment, or during the open enrollment period.
Can I Buy Health Insurance For My Child Only?
If you are currently enrolled in an Independence Blue Cross health plan, you can add your children up to age 26 as dependents. If you are not enrolled in a health plan, you may be able to enroll your children in CHIP: Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Can I Add My Domestic Partner to My Health Plan?
Yes. You and your domestic partner can apply for family coverage during the open enrollment period or throughout the year if you experience a qualifying life event.
Can I Add My Fiancée (Female) or Fiancé (Male) to My Health Plan?
No. Your fiancée or fiancé can apply individually for coverage. Once you are married, you can request that your spouse be added to your existing coverage.
Can I Apply For Multiple Health Insurance Plans?
No. You must select one plan when you apply for an individual health plan. Use our health insurance comparison chart to see which health insurance plan is best for you.
How Long Will It Take to Apply For a Health Plan?
On average it takes between 20 – 30 minutes to find the best health insurance plan for your family’s needs, get your health insurance quote, apply, and enroll for a health plan with Independence Blue Cross.
What Happens If I Don’t Purchase Health Insurance?
Unless you meet certain requirements, you will pay a penalty to the government if you do not have a health plan. For 2016, you will be charged the greater of these amounts: $695 or 2.5% of your taxable income. This penalty will rise annually with inflation.
You may be able to avoid the penalty if you are facing serious financial problems, have certain religious beliefs, or meet other rules. To get more information about tax penalties for not having health insurance, visit Healthcare.gov.