Obamacare Open Enrollment Deadline is Almost Here: eHealth Publishes Five Essential Tips for Last-Minute Shoppers
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – January 27, 2016 – Today eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH – eHealth.com), the nation’s first and largest private online health insurance exchange, released its top five tips for last-minute shoppers who still need to enroll in 2016 health coverage before the Obamacare enrollment deadline.
“It’s now or never for last-minute health insurance shoppers,” said eHealth CEO and Chairman Gary Lauer. “The end of the Affordable Care Act’s 2016 open enrollment period is almost here, but consumers should know that they still have options. A few good shopping tips can go a long way to help you find the quality, affordable coverage you need for 2016.”
The nationwide Obamacare open enrollment period for 2016 health insurance plans is scheduled to end on January 31, 2016. After that date, consumers may not be able to get a new health insurance plan until 2017.
Five Essential Tips for Last-Minute Obamacare Shoppers
Beware of killer out-of-pocket costs. Affordable monthly premiums are really important. But no less important are the out-of-pocket costs (copayments, deductibles, etc.) that you could face if you get sick or visit the doctor. What good is a health plan that you can’t afford to use? An eHealth survey report shows that out-of-pocket costs for medical care and prescription drugs will be the biggest factor in your satisfaction with your coverage over time1.
HSA-eligible health plans can save you a bundle. A lot of people these days are turning to plans with higher annual deductibles because these plans tend to come with lower monthly premiums. What many don’t know is that plans meeting certain requirements, including an annual deductible of at least $1,300 for individual coverage or $2,600 for family coverage, are generally eligible for use with a Health Savings Account (HSA). HSAs let you save money on a tax-deductible basis for qualified medical expenses (including copays and deductibles!), up to $3,350 for individual coverage or $6,750 for family coverage in 2016.
Subsidies (if you’re eligible) can save you hundreds per month. If you earn about $47,000 or less per year ($97,000 or less for a family of four), you may be eligible for government subsidies that can effectively lower your monthly premiums by hundreds of dollars per month. Subsidies can make all the difference when it comes to affording health insurance. Don’t leave money on the table! Licensed agents and government exchanges can help you learn if you qualify for subsidies.
But watch out for the “subsidy cliff.” Health insurance subsidies for 2016 are based on how much you expect to earn during the year. Any discrepancy in your expected earnings and your actual earnings will be reconciled on your federal tax return. Be cautious about estimating your income when applying for subsidies. If you earn more than expected, you may be required to pay back some or all of your subsidy dollars at tax time.
Government exchanges won’t show you all your options. The government-run health insurance exchange in your state will show you the plans eligible for purchase with a government subsidy in your area. If you’re not getting subsidies, however, you may be better off shopping with private exchanges like eHealth where you can often find the same government exchange plans PLUS other Obamacare-compliant plans not available through government sites.
To learn more about your coverage options before the January 31 deadline, visit eHealth.com.
1 See eHealth’s October 2015 Coverage Satisfaction Index report.
eHealth, Inc. (NASDAQ: EHTH) owns eHealth.com, the nation's first and largest private health insurance exchange where individuals, families and small businesses can compare health insurance products from leading insurers side by side and purchase and enroll in coverage online. eHealth offers thousands of individual, family and small business health plans underwritten by many of the nation's leading health insurance companies. eHealth (through its subsidiaries) is licensed to sell health insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. eHealth also offers educational resources and powerful online and pharmacy-based tools to help Medicare beneficiaries navigate Medicare health insurance options, choose the right plan and enroll in select plans online through PlanPrescriber.com (www.PlanPrescriber.com), eHealthMedicare.com (www.eHealthMedicare.com) and Medicare.com (www.Medicare.com).
For more health insurance news and information, visit the eHealth consumer blog: Get Smart - Get Covered or visit eHealth's Consumer Resource Center.