You are probably seeing messages these days about Open Enrollment, and sometimes it can all be confusing.
“Open Enrollment” is a window of time that happens once a year when individuals sign up for health insurance and other benefits, as well as adjust or cancel current plans. It is usually limited to a few weeks, and individuals often have to wait until the next open enrollment period to make changes.
Here are the important Open Enrollment dates:
- Individual & Family Affordable Care Act Marketplace plans: Open enrollment is November 1 through January 15. (Affordable Care Act, or ACA, is often referenced as “Obamacare”.)
- If you enroll by December 15, your coverage begins on January 1.
- If you enroll between December 16 and January 15, your coverage begins on February 1.
- Medicare: Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is October 15 to December 7. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) for Medicare is around age 65.
- Medicaid: People can enroll anytime.
At Swope Health, we have a team of insurance navigators who help guide people through the process of enrolling in Marketplace insurance, Medicaid, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
This service is free and open to everyone. Your information is confidential.
If you’d like help with enrolling in any of these programs, you have options:
- You can walk in and request assistance from our navigators at Swope Health Central.
- You can call and schedule an appointment for a time that’s convenient – call (816) 599-5590.
When you come in, please be sure to bring your ID. This can be a Driver’s License, Passport or Permanent Resident’s card. If you have an income, bring one month’s worth of proof of income, such as pay stubs. If you or family members you are enrolling were not born in Missouri or Kansas, please bring a birth certificate as well.
What can I expect in a plan?
According to the Healthcare.gov website, all Marketplace plans cover:
- 10 essential health benefits, including prescription drugs, emergency services, hospitalization, laboratory services, pregnancy, maternity and newborn care, mental health services, and substance use disorder services.
- Preventive healthcare services for adults, women, and children. These services are provided free if they are delivered by a provider or doctor in your insurance plan’s network.
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions: once you are enrolled, no insurance plan can reject you, charge you more, or refuse to pay benefits for any condition you had before your coverage started.
What will a plan cost?
Your costs will depend on your expected household income for the year. There are options for low-cost, Medicaid and CHIP programs, as well as tax credit options. A Navigator can help you estimate your income, compare plans, and get exact prices when you fill out an application.
Learn more about the federal Health Insurance Marketplace:
- Quick Guide
- A PDF Checklist of everything you’ll need to apply
- Preview plans available in the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Estimate costs
If you know of anyone in the community – yes, anyone – who needs assistance with enrollment in these coverages, please encourage them to call our insurance navigator team at (816) 599-5590.