Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is reminding Louisiana families that Open Enrollment for healthcare through the marketplace started Thursday.
The enrollment period runs from November 1, through December 15, and coverage begins on January 1, 2019. During the enrollment period individuals and families who do not receive healthcare through their employers can sign up through the online Health Insurance Marketplace and purchase individual policies.
“We’re seeing rate decreases for the first time in quite a while in the Louisiana Individual Market,” said Commissioner Donelon. “It’s important to allow plenty of time to understand your coverage options and determine what works best for you. If you have questions, a licensed health insurance agent can help you explore your choices and also help you determine if you’re eligible to receive financial assistance paying your premium.”
The Health Insurance Marketplace, www.healthcare.gov, was established by the Affordable Care Act and allows consumers to compare health insurance plans based on key factors including providers, coverage and price.
Rate filings for plans on the Health Insurance Marketplace show an approximate average decrease statewide of 6.4 percent in the individual market and an increase of 0.1 percent in the small group market.
If you do not elect coverage by December 15, you will be unable to get healthcare coverage for 2019 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life change such as marriage, having a baby or losing other coverage. Coverage for plans sold during open enrollment will start January 1, 2019.
There will not be a penalty for not having minimum essential coverage. Before, consumers would pay a penalty if they were not enrolled in a health plan. Starting January 1, 2019, that tax penalty will be reduced to nothing. If you don't have major medical health insurance for the 2019 coverage year, you'll be on your own for major health care costs, but you won't be penalized at tax time.
Be sure to check the doctors and hospitals in a plan’s network. Check any plans you are considering for 2019 for your choice of doctors and hospitals. Coverage that does not include the hospital down the street, but does cover the hospital across town may not be the right fit for you.
To learn more, visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance webpage www.ldi.la.gov/checknetwork.
Posted on Fri, November 2, 2018
by The Lafourche Gazette