November 1st to January 31st. That's the short window you have to lock in individual health insurance and ensure that you don't face harsh tax penalties. Whether you're self-employed/own your own business, or just work part-time and aren't covered under a group plan, NBS can help you get the coverage you need at a price that works best for you.
We represent virtually every carrier available. Through them we can offer the most competitive range of products to fit your particular needs at the right price point. Our team can help you navigate the national healthcare exchange, healthcare.gov, and tell you if you qualify for a premium tax credit that helps pay for your healthcare coverage.
At NBS, we offer a consultative approach to assist you with individual coverage whether it is in the direct market (individual coverage) or on the exchange (healthcare.gov).
1. When is the open enrollment period for individual health insurance?
You always have 60 days from the time you lose your job-based coverage to enroll in an individual health insurance plan. That is because losing your job-based health coverage is a "special enrollment" event. After 60 days, your special enrollment period will end and you may not be able to enroll, so you should take action right away. In addition, during what is called an "open enrollment" period, anyone can enroll in individual health coverage. "Open Enrollment" runs from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017. During this period anyone can shop the individual market and pick a plan that works best for them.
2. Can I buy an individual dental/vision plan?
Yes, we are appointed with several carriers and have the ability to shop the market and provide you with the plans you need. Contact an NBS employee today to review your options!
3. How do I qualify for a subsidy or premium tax credit?
When you apply for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace, you'll find out if you qualify for a "premium tax credit" that lowers your premium. The amount of your premium tax credit depends on the estimated household income for that calendar year. You can apply some or all of this tax credit to your monthly insurance premium payment. The Marketplace will send your tax credit directly to your insurance company, so you'll pay less each month. This is called taking an "advance payment of the premium tax credit."
4. Should I buy COBRA or an individual policy, and what is the difference between them?
When deciding whether to purchase COBRA continuation coverage or an individual health insurance plan you have to weigh your options (you typically have 60 days to make a decision). An NBS employee can help walk you through the questions you should be asking yourself. Also, consider how much of your current plan's deductible/maximum out-of-pocket you have met. Is it worthwhile financially to make a switch? Remember, once you elect COBRA continuation you may not be able to switch until your next open enrollment.
5. If I sign up for COBRA continuation coverage, can I switch to an individual health insurance plan? What about if I choose an individual plan and want to switch back to COBRA continuation coverage?
If you sign up for COBRA continuation coverage, you can switch to an individual plan during an open enrollment period. You can also end your COBRA coverage continuation coverage early and switch to an individual if you have another qualifying event such as marriage or birth of a child through something called a "special enrollment period." But be careful though — if you terminate your COBRA continuation coverage early without another qualifying event, you'll have to wait to enroll in individual until the next open enrollment period, and could end up without any health coverage in the interim.
Once you've exhausted your COBRA continuation coverage and the coverage expires, you'll be eligible to enroll in Marketplace coverage through a special enrollment period, even if Marketplace open enrollment has ended. If you sign up for Marketplace coverage, instead of COBRA continuation coverage, you cannot switch to COBRA continuation coverage under any circumstances.
6. Where can I go for more information?
The MyWave Client Portal contains a wealth of information, forms, enrollment tools, and support. Click here to access our client portal page.