By Stacey Wright
Open Enrollment for Colorado’s Insurance Marketplace (Connectforhealthco.com) is just around the corner.
That means, beginning November 1, 2015 and ending January 31, 2016, you can purchase 2016 health insurance coverage. As one of three Health Coverage Guides serving San Miguel, Ouray and West Montrose Counties, I implore you to think ahead and be prepared. Here are a few tips I have learned over the last two enrollment periods to help you navigate this important process.
Do not renew your current policy until you confirm your 2016 Premium. If you are a current Connectforhealthco.com customer you will receive correspondences from your insurance carrier regarding renewing your policy for next year. Despite our best efforts last year, many of you found your premiums up, almost 30%, after you already committed to the plan for the following year. Once committed to the new policy, it was almost impossible to switch. Don’t get fooled again!
Should you wait for an “Enrollment Fair”? If you are not self-employed or your family circumstances are simple (meaning insured household lives under one roof and on one tax return) head to an Enrollment Fair. This is a quick and simple way to get enrolled. If you are self-employed or have complicated family circumstances you are better off making an appointment. While your enrollment might be simple, it will take a bit longer, and is therefore not suitable for an Enrollment Fair. Watch your local newspaper for Enrollment Fair dates and times. We try to schedule at least one fair in Norwood, Naturita, Telluride and Ridgway during Open Enrollment.
Don’t wait until the last minute to make an appointment with an HCG. There are only three Health Coverage Guides serving the Westend, Ouray and San Miguel Counties and beginning November 1st our schedules fill up fast! To make meeting with us as convenient as possible for our local workforce, we are available outside of normal working hours; on Saturdays and Sundays, too.
Most importantly, be prepared. Have a good estimate of your expected 2016 income, bring a driver’s license for all adults in the household, have social security numbers for everyone in the household, if you have one employer bring a paystub or two and know your employer’s address and phone number. If you’re self-employed, bring your most recent profit and loss statement. Also, if you have been in the connectforhealthco.com system before bring your user name (usually email address) and password. Having all of these on hand for your appointment will make the enrollment process that much easier.
I know summer is not over (yet) but November will be here sooner than you think. If you are uninsured or not happy with your current insurance plan, it’s time to start thinking about Open Enrollment. Give us a call. We’re here, trained, and ready to help – plus our help is free of charge!