Inside Track: Evaluating Your Health Insurance Coverage: Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 15:

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    Evaluating Your Health Insurance Coverage: Open Enrollment Ends Dec. 15

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    Open enrollment for health insurance begins today – and ends Dec. 15. With only a six-week period to make the changes you need, now is the time to review your coverage.

    Nov. 1, 2017 – This year’s shortened enrollment period means now is the time to review your health insurance coverage.

    The open enrollment period this year runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2017.

    Whether you have an individual or group plan, evaluate whether you need to make any changes in your health insurance policy or consider options available through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    What to Know About the 2017 Open Enrollment Period

    Apart from a shortened, six-week enrollment period, here’s what you need to know as you make changes in your plan:

    • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the law of the land, says Corrine Bultman of Bultman Financial Services, Brookfield. “Unless the ACA is repealed, policy rates and products that were set in June 2017 remain valid for 2018.”

    • Check your insurance carrier. “A number of carriers are exiting the individual health insurance market for next year,” said Bultman. “It is important to make sure your insurance is still available.”

    • Prices are going up, especially for those with the “silver” or 70-percent-coverage plans, one of the four standardized coverage levels for the ACA-compliant policies. “Some people may newly qualify for subsidies,” Bultman said. “And those with silver plans should definitely review their options.”

    • Short-term plans may no longer be a viable option. “The short-term plans are getting harder to find, and they have pre-existing conditions limitations as well as lifetime limits,” Bultman said.

    Want to know who offers insurance in your area? See the map provided by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance. 

    Don’t forget to visit “The federally facilitated marketplace is still likely the best place to start,” Bultman said.

    What Should I Consider When Reviewing My Coverage?

    Consider the following factors when evaluating your current coverage:

    • the product’s premium cost;

    • out-of-pocket health care expenses not paid by insurance;

    • eligibility for government subsidies;

    • the product’s exclusions and benefit limitations; and

    • access to specific health care providers and/or provider networks.

    When Can I Make Changes to My Plan Outside of Open Enrollment?

    Enrollment or coverage changes outside of the open enrollment period are permitted only if you qualify due to special events like marriage, the birth of a child, or loss of other health coverage. Find a summary of these special enrollment events in this InsideTrack article.

    Who Can Answer My Questions?

    Bultman Financial Services and Professional Insurance Programs have a long-standing working relationship with the State Bar and are trusted experts in helping State Bar members find coverage. Contact either of them to get your questions answered; they will help you find options that fit best for your situation:

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