A lot has happened this year, so it’s easy to miss that healthcare open enrollment season is upon us. Starting from November 1st through December 15th, this is the open enrollment window for individual and marketplace plans, though other related plans (such as employer-sponsored and Medicare) also usually fall within this window. In this blog, we’ll talk about how important 2021 will be to make sure you have proper coverage and how you can plan for the worst and best at the same time.
Understanding Healthcare EnrollmentWhile this healthcare system has been with us for a while now, the how’s of doing it – especially online – have changed from year to year and state to state. Depending on your needs, employer, and age, there might be different options available to you. Below are the basics, along with helpful links to get you started.
Marketplace Healthcare PlansWhen most people talk about the open enrollment season, they are talking about the healthcare insurance marketplace where users can find, compare, and enroll in healthcare insurance. This is a good choice for individuals who don’t get healthcare insurance directly from an employer. Depending on what state you live in, you can visit the national marketplace at Healthcare.gov to get started or find your state exchange.
Employer-Sponsored Health InsuranceUntil the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, most health insurance was handled through the workplace, and for many, this is still the best option in terms of cost and coverage. Many companies provide this coverage for spouses and dependents as well, so make sure to talk to your employer about your options, especially if you’re making a significant life choice like marriage or having children. While there is no set schedule for employee plans, many renew in the fall.
Medicare and MedicaidDepending on your age, financial situation, disabilities, and other health situations, you may also qualify for either Medicare or Medicaid (known as MassHealth in Massachusetts). Medicare has a similar open enrollment period as the healthcare marketplace, starting earlier on October 15th and ending after December 7th, while Medicaid is year-round. To see if you or a loved one qualifies, check out these HHS.gov pages for Medicare and Medicaid to learn more.
Healthcare Planning for Your Family & BusinessAt the various points in your life, you’re going to have larger or smaller responsibilities when it comes to healthcare. Once you’re no longer a dependent, you need to have your own, but as your family and responsibilities grow, so will your understanding and work on this. Where to start:
- You and Your Spouse: If you’re married or are planning your nuptials, healthcare coverage is essential. Check to see what plans with employers or marketplaces work best for both of you.
- Your Children and Dependents: Part of planning for kids is also preparing for their protection. Healthcare insurance is a vital part, so make sure to plan ahead for coverage.
- Your Parents and Grandparents: If you’re entering a role of caretaking for your parents or grandparents, make sure to help get them into Medicare or Medicaid, as well as estate planning to protect their assets.
- Your Employees: If you run a business with employees, make sure to know your requirements when it comes to providing healthcare. Think about potential healthcare perks for better retention of talent.