Monday, April 7, 2014

ACA Update: Closing Time

By Emily McKinley, Health Information Specialist

The gates are closed and the sprint is over. March 31 marked the last day of open enrollment on the ACA Marketplace for 2014. So, what’s next?

Moving forward, there will be annual open enrollment periods for those wishing to enroll in or switch to a new insurance policy. Open enrollment for 2015 is scheduled to begin November 15, 2014 and close on February 15, 2015. This will be the key time to purchase, upgrade, or change insurance policies.

In the meantime, what are the options?

Access state- and federally-funded programs. Indiana offers both Hoosier Healthwise (Medicaid) and the Healthy Indiana Plan as health coverage options for individuals who have low incomes. Coverage eligibility is determined by family income, applicant age (there are different programs for children and adults), and certain health conditions. For more information about the Medicaid programs offered in Indiana, please review our fact sheet: http://fvindiana.org/Files/SS/FS_Medicaid.pdf.  It is important to note that many households may encounter a situation where only the children are eligible for coverage. In those cases, it is still important to apply for all eligible members to ensure the greatest coverage possible.

Individuals and families who experience a “qualifying life event,” such as the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, loss of a family member, divorce, interstate move, significant changes in income, and/or loss of coverage due to job loss or other similar circumstances, are eligible for a special enrollment period and may purchase Marketplace coverage at that time. Generally, special enrollment periods will last only 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event.

Likewise, if an individual or family experiences a significant change in income and is already covered by a Marketplace plan, it is important to report those income changes to the Marketplace. Doing so will ensure tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies are properly adjusted so that the reconciliation does not occur in full upon filing 2014 taxes.

The gates are closed, and the sprint is over. But, the marathon is just beginning. We encourage all consumers to empower themselves with knowledge about their policies, rights and benefits. Further, it is important to share concerns and positive feedback regarding your experiences and coverage with legislators and others as we continue to run this ACA race.

As we fall into a manageable pace, it is important to note that Family Voices Indiana will no longer be posting regular, monthly ACA Updates. That said, we’d love to hear from you. What are your questions, concerns, and experiences? How can we support you as you run your own race in this ACA arena? We’ll do our best to address those issues as we move forward.

As always, please visit our website, www.fvindiana.org, or contact us at info@fvindiana.org or 317944.8982, if you would like more information about the ACA or accessing other systems and services.


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