Get covered with an affordable health insurance plan before the January 31, 2016 deadline. Watch my interview with a health navigator and read more about how to #getcoveredmd in this sponsored post.
The Maryland Health Connection is the State of Maryland’s official marketplace where residents can shop for and enroll in a health insurance plan. The plans offered through Maryland Health Connection meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.
The open enrollment period for Maryland is November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016. There are a few rolling deadlines you should be aware of for when your coverage will be effective.
- Enroll by December 15, 2015, coverage begins January 1, 2016.
- Enroll December 16, 2015 through January 15, 2016, coverage begins February 1, 2016.
- Enroll January 16, 2016 through January 31, 2016, coverage begins March 1, 2016.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Joe, a navigator from Maryland Health Connection and we discussed many of the questions you may have. Check out our fun Periscope broadcast from a recent enrollment event at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor.
Why do I need health insurance?
There are 2 quick answers. The primary reason is it’s a lot like car insurance, you don’t want to have an accident or unexpected health event and be caught without it. Out of pocket medical expenses can skyrocket quickly and are one of the primary reasons people file for bankruptcy. The 2nd and rather compelling reason is the law requires you to maintain health insurance. Failure to do so results in a penalty. In 2016, the penalty for not having health insurance is $695 per person in your household or 2.5% of your household income, whichever is greater. A bonus reason you need health insurance and arguably the most important is, you matter. A healthy you matters. Get covered and take charge of your own health 🙂 I have a podcast show dedicated to this entire topic. Check it out sometime! Take Charge of Your Own Health Podcast
Who needs health insurance?
The Affordable Care Act requires that MOST Americans maintain health insurance. For many of us, we satisfy that requirement with a health insurance plan through our employer. However, there are still millions of Americans who will need to shop the marketplace to find a suitable health insurance plan. Here are just a few who may need to get covered: self-employed individuals, retired folks not yet eligible for Medicare, unemployed and part-time employees working less than 30 hours per week (if you work more than 30 hours per week, your employer is required to offer you health insurance). There are many circumstances you might fit into and I can’t discuss them all here, but the takeaway is that most Americans, regardless of age are required to have health insurance either through public assistance, an employer or private pay.
You talked me into it, how do I get enrolled?
Head on over to MarylandHealthConnection.gov and start your application. You can also call 1-855-642-8572. If you would like free in-person assistance, you can attend an enrollment event in your area or find a navigator’s office near you. Visit this link for more information: Get Help Enrolling
Note: If you live outside Maryland, visit Healthcare.gov to get enrolled.
You will need the following documents for each member of your family:
- Social Security Number
- Birthdates and general information
- Employer and accurate income information
- Policy numbers for any current health insurance
- information about any job-related health insurance available to your family
Here is a handy checklist: Application Checklist
Will it be affordable?
The best way to answer this truly is to visit the marketplace and shop for plans. There is financial help available, but only through the marketplace. In fact, 9 out of 10 Marylanders who received coverage through Maryland Health Connection in 2015 got financial help to pay for their plan. For example, an individual earning $47,080 or less per year, or a family of four earning $97,000 or less per year, can qualify for tax credits that lower the monthly premium cost.
What else should I do?
Spread the word to your friends, family and community about this important resource and help get Maryland covered! Share this post on Facebook and Twitter, by clicking 1 of the icons at the top. If you have any questions, please contact a Maryland Health Connection navigator in your area. Go to MarylandHealthConnection.gov to find the one nearest you.
Leading up to the interview with Joe at the enrollment event, I did a 3-part series to help broaden your understanding of some key benefits and terms. See them on Katch.