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Time is running out to sign up for a new health care plan

Deadline is Dec. 15 for coverage that begins Jan. 1

DETROIT - Individuals who wish to purchase health care coverage that will start Jan. 1, 2016, have until Tuesday, Dec. 15, to select a plan under the terms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“It’s very important that individuals be proactive consumers when it comes to health insurance,” said Claudia Swink, director of Individual Business for Health Alliance Plan (HAP). “Now is the time for consumers to learn about plan options and choose a plan that works for their specific needs, to help them gain better control of their own health and wellness.”

According to HAP, here are some tips and reminders about open enrollment:

  • Individuals who enrolled in a health care plan last year via the Marketplace must go back to the Marketplace to cancel or re-enroll. An insurance carrier cannot make those changes for them.
  • The only way to get federal cost assistance is to purchase a plan on the Marketplace.
  • Individuals who enrolled directly through an insurance carrier last year and believe they may qualify for cost assistance this year, or who want to purchase another plan, should contact either the Marketplace or their insurance carrier to determine their eligibility for assistance.
  • Those who are in a Qualified Health Plan and wish to stay in it don’t need to do anything.

Even if individuals are happy with their current plan, there are circumstances that impact their coverage. For example, if a plan has been “withdrawn,” or no longer offered by the insurance carrier, consumers should receive a notice from their insurance carrier telling them they’ve been automatically enrolled in the closest-matching plan, but giving them the option of choosing another one. Consumers whose plans have been withdrawn have until March 1, 2016, to make a new selection.

Also, consumers who purchased a “catastrophic” plan - one that covers the minimum required benefits - through the government last year and who are age 30 or older will not be automatically renewed. They must contact the Health Insurance Marketplace to renew their policy.

"Those" who do change plans must be sure to purchase the new plan and confirm its effective date before cancelling their current plan,” said Swink. “And, even if they are in a position that requires them to enroll or re-enroll on the Marketplace, insurers like HAP are happy to answer their questions and help walk them through the process.”

Open enrollment is the period in which individuals can change or select a new health care plan. Individuals who select a health plan after Dec. 15 must enroll by Jan. 15 for new coverage to start Feb. 1. Enrollments or changes between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31 take effect March 1. Open enrollment ends Jan. 31, 2016.

About Health Alliance Plan

Health Alliance Plan (HAP) is a Michigan-based health and wellness company that provides coverage to more than 680,000 members. For over 50 years, HAP has partnered with leading doctors, hospitals, employers and community organizations to enhance the health and well-being of the lives we touch. HAP offers a product portfolio with six distinct product lines: Group, individual, Medicare, Medicaid, self-funded and network leasing. HAP excels in delivering award-winning preventive services, disease management and wellness programs, as well as personalized customer service.

Media contacts:

Ebony Dooley, HAP
(248) 443-7847 office

Katie Rebella - MCCI on behalf of HAP
(313) 481-4737 office