One of the big changes under health care reform is the requirement for most Americans to have adequate health coverage. If you don’t, you will have to pay a penalty fee each year when you file your federal income taxes (unless you qualify for an exemption from this requirement).
But there is good news. Most people can keep their existing health plans, especially for the short term. And if you don’t have a health plan, BlueChoice® has many options to get you covered. Premium tax credits and other help are also available, if you qualify, to lower your premium or other out-of-pocket costs.
If You Have an Individual Health Plan from BlueChoice HealthPlan
If your plan is one of our grandfathered plans — you got it before March 23, 2010, the day the law was passed — you can keep that plan as long as you like, unless you make certain changes to it. (Of course, if your plan is one of our kids-only plans, then you can keep it until you turn age 30.).
If your plan is one of our non-grandfathered plans — you got it between March 23, 2010, and Dec. 1, 2013 — you can keep it until 2017. We’ll let you know exactly when you need to make that change a little closer to that time.
If you bought your health plan from us during the Open Enrollment Period this past year (or during a Special Enrollment Period), we will automatically renew that plan for you for 2017 so that there is no lapse in your coverage. However … we have added lots of new plans for 2017, including family plans. You might want to take a look at what’s new and see if there is a better option for you or your family.
If You Need an Individual Health Plan from BlueChoice HealthPlan
Make sure you check out all of our plans for 2017 during the Open Enrollment Period of Nov. 1, 2016, through January 1, 2017. If you want coverage to start Jan. 1, 2017, then you need to enroll no later than Dec. 15. If you miss the Open Enrollment Period, you’ll have to wait until the next year to buy a plan — unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment due to certain life changes or hardship cases. Shopping for a BlueChoice plan is easy!
If You Have BlueChoice Coverage Through Your Employer or Another Program
If you have adequate group coverage through your employer (or through another program like Medicaid), then you won’t have to pay a penalty. If your employer decides to not offer coverage at any time, you can shop with us to buy your own health plan — and see if you qualify for financial help.
Making the Right Choice
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a health plan. What works for one member or group may not be right for another. Rest assured that we will do our best to help you sort out your options so you can make the best one. Because it matters how you’re treated.