Pay attention and shop around. That’s the advice from experts as the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period begins and prices are expected to be higher in many places – including Arizona. You can access the Arizona exchange by going to healthcare.gov.
In a recent blog, we told you how Arizona’s benchmark health plan is likely to cost about 17.5 percent more next year than it did in 2015. That is more than double the national average and it is one of the major reasons that people are being encouraged to look around for better deals.
CNN put together an “Open Enrollment Guide” for 2016 with answers to many of the most commonly asked questions for those folks who are not covered through their jobs. You can find it by clicking here.
And CNBC put together a short video to help people through the enrollment process. You can watch it by clicking on the picture below.
People have from now through December 15th to find a health plan in order to make sure they are covered beginning on January 1st. If you are currently enrolled and do nothing – you will be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan. But that might be a mistake according to a story on MarketWatch.com.
“You have to pay attention and re-shop,” said Nate Purpura, vice president of consumer affairs at ehealth.com. “People who think they will sleepwalk through it will potentially miss out.”
If you choose not to buy health insurance (but can afford it), the penalty will be higher this year. From the Wall Street Journal:
This open enrollment also marks the first year that the penalty for not having insurance is likely to have a significant impact. The fee in 2015 was $325 per adult or 2% of family income, whichever is greater. It is more than doubling in 2016, to $695 per adult or 2% of income.
One more suggestion from experts……don’t wait until the last minute to enroll. The system is said to be running smoothly right now, but could get “jammed” as the deadline approaches.