What You Need to Know About 2017 Health Insurance Open Enrollment

Date: October 05, 2016 Last Edit: October 18, 2016

THE BASIC DETAILS

Open Enrollment for 2017 health insurance begins November 1, 2016,
and runs through January 31, 2017. However, in order to have your health plan
begin on January 1, 2017, you must enroll by December 15, 2016.

While it may seem like you have plenty of time to sort out health
insurance plans for yourself and your employees, don’t put it off. The
landscape is changing daily, with carriers continuing to pull out of the exchange
marketplace, rates increasing, and fewer doctors and hospitals participating.
This year in particular, it’s crucial to be prepared.

It’s also important to know that you have options outside of the
Open Enrollment period, some that started on October 1. We’ll delve into that below.

WHY YOU SHOULD PREPARE NOW

Starting the enrollment process early will help ensure your plan’s
effective date is January 1, and it will also give you a clearer idea about any
marketplace or plan changes that could impact your healthcare choices and
ultimately your business’ bottom line. For example, we continue to see high
deductibles and high rates for out-of-network care. And fewer PPO plans exist
each year.

But you do have options. If an Affordable Care Act plan still works
for you and your employees, the NFIB Health Exchange carries those plans during
Open Enrollment. Even though rates are up, NFIB members who used the NFIB
Exchange last year saved an average of $1,756*.

Outside of Open Enrollment, ACA plans, which offer no-questions-asked
health insurance, can be obtained only during a Qualifying Life Event, such as
marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, or death.

The NFIB Health Insurance Exchange can also help you explore
non-Obamacare plans that could save you money. These can also be
purchased as of October 1. Non-Obamacare plans can result in a tax penalty, but the
plans sill may be more cost effective, even with the tax penalty factored in.
The ACA also provides for scenarios where there is no tax penalty involved on a
non-Obamacare plan. Confused yet? The NFIB Health Insurance Exchange can help. Call
888-488-6266 or get an online quote now to get started.

HOW TO GET READY

1. Gather your information. Put together an estimate of your 2017 Modified Adjusted Gross
Income (MAGI) to determine if you are eligible for any premium subsidies. Other
basic, required information will be names, dates of birth, addresses, and
social security numbers for you and your employees.

2. Review your current plan. Solicit feedback and suggestions from your employees on the
current plan(s) offered and evaluate whether they meet everyone’s needs.

3. Consider desired changes. Based on your observations and employee feedback, think about any
changes or enhancements you might want to make to your 2017 health insurance
plan. Ask yourself:

  • Was anything crucial missing that you or your employees want or
    need going forward?
  • Are there any voluntary supplemental benefits you can add—such as
    life, accident, critical illness, or dental insurance—to bolster your employee
    benefit package and strengthen employee retention rates?

4. Talk to
your tax adviser.
As mentioned above, non-Obamacare plans can come with a tax penalty for
not meeting the ACA requirements. (Remember, however, that premiums are
generally lower here.) A meeting with your tax adviser is a crucial step in
understanding implications and ways to deal with a potential tax penalty if you
go the non-Obamacare route.

5. Start shopping. You can shop ACA plans online beginning November 1. Or, if you wish
to explore non-Obamacare plans, as of October 1 you can enroll
online
or by speaking
with a licensed professional at 888-488-6266.

NFIB’s Health Insurance Exchange can take the headache out of the
Health Insurance Open Enrollment process by providing you and your employees
with options and by helping you save money. Shop online for both ACA and
non-Obamacare plans at NFIBHealthPlans.com or call 888-488-6266 to explore non-Obamacare plans.

*Figure
is based on plans sold from 01/01/2015 to 12/31/2015 compared to what NFIB
members reported previously paying. Each member varies, and not all members
will see savings for their plan.

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