Now Is The Time To Start Thinking About Health Coverage For Next Year
While most of us spend the latter part of the year focused on the holidays, the transition into the fall season is also the time to pay some attention to your individual health insurance needs. As many Arizona residents know, November is when the ACA (Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare) open enrollment period begins. The time is rapidly approaching when folks looking for health insurance for themselves and their families need to evaluate, choose, and enroll in individual insurance plans.
For Arizonans who do not have group health insurance through their employer, the “open enrollment” period that comes with the end of each year is a critical time. This window may be the only opportunity to obtain or modify health insurance coverage for the coming year. If open enrollment comes and goes this year without your taking any action to sign up for a plan, you may be out of luck, facing the prospect of living without health coverage during 2021.
That is likely a scary thought – and it should be. In this time of uncertainty amid a global pandemic, a lack of health insurance is a potential catastrophe waiting to happen. Without coverage, an illness or injury to you or a member of your family could cost you dearly.
Here is what Arizonans like you need to know about open enrollment and obtaining individual health insurance for 2021:
What Does “Open Enrollment” Mean?
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), individuals cannot apply for health insurance coverage any time they want to. Individuals must either enroll in a plan during a designated open enrollment period or during what is called a special enrollment period.
Individuals who do not obtain coverage during the open enrollment period can only get or modify coverage outside of that timeframe if and when a “qualifying life event” occurs. Such events include:
Loss of existing coverage due to job loss, disqualification from Medicare or Medicaid, or aging out of coverage under a parent’s plan
Birth, adoption, death of a named insured, marriage, or divorce
Moving to an area outside of your existing insurer’s coverage
Becoming a U.S. citizen or release from incarceration
When Is The Open Enrollment Period For Individual Health Insurance Coverage For 2021?
The 2021 open enrollment period for coverage starting January 1, 2021 is November 1, 2020 through December 15, 2020.
Where Do I Go To Apply For Individual Health
Private health insurance companies offer individual insurance plans through online portals called exchanges. While several states operate their own exchanges, many others, including Arizona, use the federally established exchange: healthcare.gov. This means Arizona residents must go through this site to obtain coverage offered through the exchange.
During the open enrollment for last year (for 2020 coverage), 153,020 Arizonans enrolled in individual plans through the exchange. That represents a 25% decrease in enrollment since 2015.
What Can I Do At Healthcare.gov to Get Individual Health Insurance Coverage?
When you visit healthcare.gov, you can review and evaluate the individual insurance plans available in Arizona. By providing some basic information about yourself and your family, you can also see prices for different plans based on your age, household, and income. You can then enroll in the plan of your choice before the close of the open enrollment period.
Who Offers Individual Health Insurance Coverage For 2021?
Arizona has five health insurers offering a variety of plans for Arizonans for the calendar year 2021. Those insurance companies are:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona
Bright Health Company of Arizona
Cigna HealthCare of Arizona
Health Net of Arizona
Oscar Health Plan
Who Can Help Me Obtain Individual Health Insurance Coverage?
Let’s face it, health insurance is as complicated as it is essential. Even the smartest and most savvy people have trouble understanding the nuances of all the available plans or determining which option is best for their family’s needs and budget.
If you need individual health insurance coverage for 2021, the good news is that you don’t need to figure things out on your own. Anderson Insurance Services, an experienced Arizona small business and individual health insurance broker, has helped countless Arizonans obtain the best coverage for over 30 years. We are committed to answering your questions, addressing your concerns, and providing solutions that can keep you and your family safe, healthy, and covered during these challenging times.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your individual health insurance needs.