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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

As the Midterm Election approaches and many prepare for the holiday season, it’s critical to remember that the open enrollment period to purchase health insurance coverage for 2019 is quickly approaching as well. This is the time to make sure that you and your loved ones have access to comprehensive, quality, and affordable coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is a period of time in which anyone can purchase healthcare insurance on the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. The open enrollment period is a small window of time from November 1st to December 15th, 2018 during which consumers are able to enroll for health insurance for plans beginning January 1st, 2019.

This time period is essential for anyone without access to health insurance through their employer. This includes, for example, those who are self-employed, unemployed, or working for a smaller employer that may not provide health insurance coverage. For information and tips regarding open enrollment and understanding the health insurance marketplace, you can read more about both here.

If you are eligible for Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Part D Prescription Drug coverage, the open enrollment period runs from October 15th to December 7th. Make sure to visit Medicare.gov to compare coverage options and purchase or make changes to your Medicare plan.

What should you look for when choosing a plan?

Choosing a health plan can be a challenge. You may have many questions about plans including how to ensure your preferred providers will remain in-network, how much you may pay out-of-pocket, or how premium costs and deductibles should factor into your decision. There are new plans on the market that may seem to be a better, lower cost option but may lack coverage for necessary services like prescriptions or may come with restrictions on those with pre-existing conditions.

There are resources for you to use when choosing a plan to help you find one that will fit your needs and will not put your financial or physical well-being at risk. Explore some of the resources below to learn more:

  • Cancer Insurance Checklist: The Cancer Insurance Checklist helps those who have been impacted by cancer and those who are at risk for cancer, compare the benefits and costs of each plan and make an informed decision. Use the checklist on your own, or use it to discuss your needs with a navigator, Marketplace representative, care provider, or loved one.
  • Short-Term Limited Duration Plans: Read more from CSC about Short-Term, Limited Duration Health Plans to make sure you do not enroll in a plan that will not meet your needs.
  • Co-Pay Accumulators: Do you use a drug manufacturer copay assistance card/coupon to help cover the cost of your medication? There are a number of insurance plans that will no longer count copay assistance towards a beneficiary’s deductible and maximum out-of-pocket limit. This can end up costing you or your family thousands of dollars in unexpected costs. CSC’s blog on Copay Accumulator Programs can help you understand what to look for to mitigate these risks

How to enroll

To apply, visit HealthCare.gov and make vital decisions regarding your health insurance coverage.

There are five ways to apply for 2019 health insurance; online, by phone, with in-person help, through an agent, or by mail. For information on how to apply via each means of enrollment, click here. After you have chosen how you want to apply, you should be aware of the required information about you and your household. For a checklist regarding what you will need to apply for coverage, click here.

Want to stay up to date on important news and deadlines like this? Sign up for our Grassroots Advocacy Network to receive regular updates about policies that could impact cancer patients and their families, and make your voice heard with decision makers at every level.

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