EDITORIAL NOTE: The Special Enrollment Period for Individual and Family Plans has been extended until August 15, 2021, via executive action on March 24, 2021.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to have health insurance coverage. Recently, the Biden Administration re-opened the federal health insurance exchange for a special enrollment period that runs through May 15. Most states that operate their own marketplaces – including Wisconsin – are also extending the sign-up season.
The typical annual open enrollment period runs November 1 through December 15. Outside of this timeframe, people can only make changes if they meet certain criteria or qualify for a special enrollment period. This year’s special election period is considered a one-time event and it’s uncertain if we will see anything like it again.
Wondering what the Spring 2021 Special Enrollment period means for you? Here’s what you need to know:
- The spring 2021 Special Enrollment Period runs February 15 through May 15.
- Those who are eligible include people who don’t currently have health insurance as well as those who wish to make changes to an existing plan.
- You can choose to apply now and pick a plan later in the process.
- Your health coverage will take effect on the first of the month after you complete the application and pick a plan.
- If you are considering swapping your current plan for a different one, keep in mind the out-of-pocket costs you’ve already incurred this year may not transfer. For example, at Network Health, your costs will transfer if you are moving to another plan within our company. But they won’t transfer if you switch to a plan with a different health insurance provider.
- If you currently have a COBRA plan, you could end up saving if you switch to a marketplace plan. It depends on your individual situation and it could payoff to research your options.
Regardless of whether you are enrolling in a plan for the first time or making a change to your current coverage, here are a few factors you should consider when picking a health insurance plan:
- Evaluate your current health situation – This includes your current health as well as any tests or procedures you anticipate having during the remainder of the year. Then compare your needs against the plans you’re considering.
- Look at the deductible and co-pay amounts – It’s smart to look at the amount you’ll pay out of pocket because it can vary greatly between plans.
- Research what providers are considered in-network – You may see plans that are cheaper or ones with a seemingly better design. But if your providers aren’t in-network you could still end up paying more.
- Prescription coverage – This is especially important if you take prescription medications regularly. Coverage for prescription medications varies between plans.
- Member perks – This includes health and wellness programs and gym utilization incentives.
Network Health is available if you have questions or need help selecting a health insurance plan that’s right for you. We’re also able to refer people to an independent health insurance agent so you can learn more about all of the options available to you. To learn more, visit us at NetworkHealth.com, or call us at 877-541-4611.