How to Prepare for Health Insurance Enrollment

As the Certified Application Counselor at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital, I would like to share some tips to prepare you for Open Enrollment for federal health insurance.

If currently enrolled in a health insurance plan through Marketplace at, be sure to go online, call the help line, or seek assistance to do your 2017 application. It should be a fairly easy process if you are currently enrolled. You will need to know your tax filing household size, as well as expected household income for 2017. Keep in mind, married couples must file jointly.  Marketplace considers the following as income: your job (this includes whether you are self-employed or unemployed); social security; retirement; pensions; capital gains; investments;  rental or royalty income;  farming or fishing; and alimony.  The following is not considered income: Veteran’s disability payment; workman’s compensation; child support; gifts; and supplemental social security income.

If you are not currently enrolled in a health insurance plan, you will have the opportunity to enroll November 1 through January 31, 2017. I urge everyone to enroll in a health insurance plan to provide coverage for your healthcare needs. The fine for not having health insurance in 2016 is $695 or 2.5% of household income (whichever is higher) with a maximum fine of $2085.

You may currently qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you or anyone in your household expects to lose coverage, or lost coverage in the past 60 days. Qualifying reasons include losing job-based coverage; losing eligibility for Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIP; or losing coverage through a family member such as retirement, birth, marriage, and divorce.

Please feel free to contact me at (814) 643-8885 or if you need additional information about the outreach event, or if you need advice, guidance, or assistance with Marketplace Insurance.  Look for additional health insurance enrollment tips in my next column.