News & Events

Health Insurance Marketplace opens Nov 1, 2017!

Published on: 08/22/2017

The Health Insurance Marketplace is gearing up for the fifth open enrollment period beginning November 1, 2017 and ending on December 15, 2017. Are you ready? Would you like some help with the application process?  Call Mid-State today for 603-536-4000 ext.1450 for help exploring your options.

Through the Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) you will be able to apply, compare options and find out if you are income eligible for assistance to lower premiums and reduce out-of-pocket cost – just like previous years.

The Health Insurance Marketplace will continue to offer premium tax credits to help reduce the monthly insurance premiums. The amount of the credit is calculated based on your income and household size. The credit can either be applied to reduce your monthly premium or received when you file your income tax return. It is your choice! Additionally, your income level and household size may also qualify you for cost sharing reductions in out-of-pocket expenses like co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance. It is important to keep your income and family size updated in the Marketplace to ensure you are receiving all the cost-saving measures you are entitled to.  Insurance carriers will continue to have Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum plans for you to compare, but remember only Silver plans will reflect any income eligible savings in the form of premium and cost sharing reductions.  Changes to income and family size need to be reported through the Marketplace and can affect cost by causing adjustments to cost sharing reductions and/or advance premium tax credits, both in the premiums you pay as well as your overall out-of-pocket cost which is why it is important to review your options each year.

You may also notice a few things that have changed for the coming year.  The most notable of those changes is that open enrollment has been reduced to 6 weeks, November 1 – December 15.  This change was brought about by the Market Stabilization Rules introduced in April 2017. These rules were put in place to help stabilize the marketplace so insurance companies will be less likely to stop offering individual plans.  The reasoning for a shorter open enrollment is so individuals will have coverage effective January 1 and have a full 12 months of coverage.  Previously, individuals could delay enrollment until January 31 with coverage effective March 1.  This made it so insurance companies were only collecting 10 months of premiums creating a large loss should these individuals have high medical costs for the year.  Insurers will also now be allowed to collect unpaid premiums prior to enrollment.  Luckily for folks in NH, state law only allows collection of up to two months of past due premiums.  And, more than likely, if an individual did not pay premiums the insurance company would have cancelled that individual after one month.  So while you may need to catch up on past due premiums before enrollment, it will likely only be one month’s premium.  The final significant change for 2018 is that there will only be 3 insurers offering individual coverage on the Marketplace in NH; Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim, and Ambetter (NH Healthy Families).  Minuteman will no longer be operating as a Co-Op and is currently working to create a new, for-profit company.  They will not have individual plans offered in 2018.  Harvard Pilgrim will be offering their limited, Elevate Health network, and eliminating the larger NH Network.  Anthem and Ambetter will have the same networks as offered in 2017.  Pricing for the plans will not be available until November 1, 2017, but it is reported that we will see increased premiums in comparison to 2017.

With a shorter open enrollment, now is a great time to get a head start by updating or creating an account on Healthcare.gov, then the only thing left to do during open enrollment (November 1st, 2017 – December 15th, 2017) will be to select a plan.

If you have any questions, the call center at Healthcare.gov is free and always available at 800-318-2596. If you would like in person assistance to help you explore your options, Mid-State offers assistance to the community at no cost at its offices in Bristol and Plymouth, and at Whole Village Family Resource Center in Plymouth on Wednesdays, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.  Call today to discuss your options and schedule an appointment, 603-536-4000 ext.1450.