The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) just issued a news release to inform the public about the required steps to keep Marketplace enrollees covered for individual health insurance in 2018.

In their release, the CMS confirmed their commitment to making it as easy as possible for the current healthcare.gov enrollees to renew their coverage for 2018.

They are encouraging consumers to come back at the start of open enrollment on November 1, 2017, to update their applications and compare their options to ensure that they enroll in a plan that meets their financial and health needs for 2018.

In Florida, there is no state-run marketplace. Healthcare.gov is the only marketplace option, so if you want to continue coverage in 2018, please read this bulletin.

The CMS instructions can be found here.

Notification From The Marketplace

Consumers will receive notices from the Marketplace via mail and in their healthcare.gov accounts which explains how to renew coverage during open enrollment.

These notices will explain how consumers can return to the Marketplace between November 1, 2017, and December 15, 2017, to update their application, shop for plans, and determine if they are eligible for premium tax credits or cost-sharing subsidies for coverage that begins as early as January 1, 2018.

According to the news release, when consumers return to healthcare.gov on November 1, 2017, to initiate their 2018 application, 90 percent of their online application will be pre-populated. In addition, this year, the CMS will be staffing up an additional call center representatives to help answer consumers’ questions and walk them through the coverage process.

The news release warned that consumers who do not return to the Marketplace to update their application will generally be auto-enrolled in the same plan with the same premium tax credit and cost-sharing subsidies as the prior year. It does state that current enrollees still have through the end of open enrollment on December 15, 2017, to change plans and start new coverage.

5 Steps To Staying Covered in 2018

According to the CMS, there are five steps for current enrollees to stay covered through the Marketplace. The insurers will send out a letter explaining any changes to premium costs or benefits for the coming year each fall, just before open enrollment.

1. Review

According to the CMS, “Plans change, people change.” Insurance companies can make changes to premium costs, cost-sharing, and the benefits they provide.

It is vital for current enrollees to review the letter from their insurer and note important dates, information, and their 14-digit plan ID number.

2. Update

Starting on November 1, 2017, enrollees should visit healthcare.gov to log in to their Marketplace account to access their pre-filled application with their 2018 information.

Consumers need to make sure their income, household, and personal information are correct for 2018.

After making the necessary changes and submitting their 2018 applications, enrollees should review their eligibility results carefully, as they may receive different cost savings because of changes in the Marketplace.

3. Compare

Consumers should log into their Marketplace account and compare plans. The CMS encourages enrollees to ask themselves the following questions:

  • Are there more affordable plans available that weren’t available last year?
  • Are you happy with the changes to their current plan?
  • Are you satisfied with the doctors in your plan’s network?
  • What are the benefits and costs of the plan?

4. Choose

After weighing their options, consumers can either choose a new health plan for 2018 or keep their existing plan, assuming it is still available.

5. Enroll

For coverage starting on January 1, 2018, Marketplace consumers must enroll in a plan by December 15, 2017.

Consumers may change their plans at any time during open enrollment, which ends December 15, 2017. However, coverage won’t start on January 1, 2018. Consumers should verify the notice from their health plan to see when their new coverage will begin.  Meanwhile, they will continue to use their current 2017 plans till the end of the year.

To learn more about your 2018 health insurance options or to get a quote*, speak with a licensed Florida Insurance Agent today.

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* Florida agents may not be able to quote final prices on 2018 coverage until the enrollment period begins on Nov 1, 2017.

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