April 30th will mark the end of the last Special Election Period that allowed citizens to extend the time to purchase health insurance in 2015. This specific election period was approved by CMS and made available to people that never bought health insurance in 2014 and discovered that they would owe a penalty for the 2014 tax year.
Houston Health Insurance
I Just Bought A Plan I Could Afford!
I have had several conversations in the last few weeks with clients of other agents or purchasers of health insurance plans that dealt directly with the carrier that needed help. In each instance the person lamented that they purchased a health plan based on the price and they didn't take much time to consider other important items in the plan like physician networks, deductibles, or co-pays.
Technical difficulties plagued the healthcare.gov signup process over the last few days of Open Enrollment. As a result of these problems, CMS, the government body that oversees the Affordable Care Act, has extended the Open Enrollment deadline to February 22nd. Remember, if you don't obtain coverage that begins 3/1/15, you cannot purchase health insurance this year unless you qualify for the Special Election period (have a baby, get a divorce, or have some other qualifying life change event). If you miss out on this last chance, you'll be locked out and won't be able to purchase an ACA plan in 2015. Make sure to grab this last opportunity to buy coverage.
With only 4 days left in the 2015 Open Enrollment cycle the pace of calls into our offices has increased dramatically. New clients and old friends that have never emailed or called us back suddenly want to talk about health insurance! In order to help you in the final stressful days we wanted to provide you some key pieces of information to help you get your enrollment completed and finish this Open Enrollment marathon!
Call volumes are increasing as we get to the last few days of the 2015 Open Enrollment season. I wanted to provide a few answers to questions we are receiving and wanted to put them in one post. Can you believe that January is already in the rear view mirror? We've had several great calls this week and all of them have common themes. I spoke quite a bit about taxation and the impact changes of income will have on subsidies in last week's post. If you have questions about these items, please refer to Taxing Questions for 2015. Let's dive in!
Recently a fellow health insurance broker and I had a discussion about health insurance premiums and how they are increasing at a rate that will doom the industry in just a few years. We lamented about rising deductibles and ever increasing costs and smaller physician networks. We even ventured into the realm of taxation and how higher income earners will certainly be asked to carry a larger burden in the future. Our howling about how bad things have gotten and how they were better in the old days, ok, just a decade ago, led us to a simple question about the deductibility of health insurance premiums and whether individuals and families could write off their health insurance premiums from their taxes. Since we both had different opinions and we've both been selling health insurance for more than 10 years it is clear that clients need clarification and answers on this important subject. Remember, I'm not a tax preparer or accountant, so these are general rules and you'll need to investigate whether they apply to your situation. Consult your own tax advisor.
We've hit January and the time has come for many of us to turn our attention to a subject we often dread, taxes. This tax season many of us will face new filing requirements or even receive new forms in order to remain in good standing with the government. In this post we'll quickly summarize the items you'll need to look and that you'll encounter as we head toward April 15th.
You may have missed the deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage that will begin 1/1/2015, but all is not lost. There still may be an opportunity for you to add coverage in the next few days as there are special circumstances that will permit you to buy coverage if you meet several criteria. We wanted to highlight a few key "secrets" we've seen this year that you need to know that may help you get coverage or at least avoid trouble in 2015.
The deadline to apply for health insurance coverage that will become effective January 1, 2015 is quickly approaching. In order to obtain a plan that begins 1/1/15 you must sign up for an insurance plan by December 15th. As our phone volumes have increased as we rush toward the application deadline we're meeting more clients and shoppers that are unclear how to obtain subsidies and how to apply.
It seems as though the days are flying by and the Open Enrollment Period is slipping by quickly. Insurance shoppers that desire to have coverage that is effective on January 1st of 2015 only have about 19 days left to obtain their coverage. Yes, if you miss the 12/15/14 deadline you'll still be able to buy coverage for the 2015 calendar year, but your coverage will start at the beginning of February! There is a significant price for procrastination in this new health insurance shopping environment, so don't put off this important decision.
Top 5 Questions About Health Insurance in 2015
I have received 5 or 6 questions consistently over the last month and I felt like they deserved to be highlighted as an article in our Texas Health Insurance Blog. Let's dive in and we'll review these common questions and ensure we've documented the answers. Remember, these are our opinions and each client and shopper's situation is different. Make sure to call us at 713-422-2935 and we'll help you discern the best approach for your unique set of circumstances.