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Health Insurance Season is Here

Many people who are uninsured under a health care plan are presented with unaffordable medical bills when they do need care. In a recent study, 53% of uninsured people said that they or someone in their household had difficulty paying medical bills in the past year. Medical costs can rapidly pile up into medical debt, which can easily erase a life’s saving.

Some employees don’t have access to employer-sponsored coverage or, if they do, they may not be able to afford their share of the premiums. In fact, 73% of uninsured workers worked for a company that did not offer health benefits in 2016. In addition, many are self-employed as small business owners.

If you don’t have health insurance through your job or another source, and if you don’t acquire it, you may have to pay a tax penalty. The penalty for 2016 is either 2.5% of your income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, whichever is higher, and the penalty will rise in 2017.

Open enrollment is the time each year when you’re able to start, stop or change your health care plan. The open enrollment period for individual health plans is between November 1, 2016 and January 31, 2017 for coverage in 2017. You may sign up only during this time for coverage, barring certain exceptions for life changing events, which may allow for changes at other times also.

November 1, 2016 is the first day you can enroll in or change your 2017 insurance plan for coverage that can start as soon as January 1, 2017. The last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017 is December 15, 2016. The last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan is January 31, 2017.

You may be able to receive financial assistance for your premiums through tax credits if you qualify through the state or federal exchanges. Yet, there may be good reasons to shop privately, and your income may be too high to qualify for tax credits.

Many insurers offer the same plans both on the exchanges and off of them, at the same price. Additionally, they may offer other plans that aren’t available on the marketplace. To get the best value for you and your family, it’s important to compare available plans.

Some additional reasons that you may want to consider a plan outside the marketplace are that:

* Your preferred doctors are not in the provider networks of the plans that are available on the exchange.

OR

* Plans purchased outside the exchange that may have better benefits. For example, if a drug you take regularly for a chronic condition is not available on the plan’s benefits or medical equipment you need isn’t covered.

Fortunately, all health insurance policies are required to cover the same essential benefits and meet minimum standards, regardless of whether they are purchased privately, offered from an employer, or through acquired through the exchanges.

If you would like to decline the coverage offered from your employer, you must do so during the open enrollment period at your workplace. If you currently have a plan from the exchange and want to discontinue it, make sure to do so by December 31st.

For additional help with your health insurance needs, contact Pettineo Insurance Agency today at (954) 493-9424 or visit www.pettineo.com for a free quote.

Pettineo Insurance Agency Inc. provides health insurance plans in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, North Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Oakland Park, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood, Sunrise, Coral Springs, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, Tamarac, Plantation, Lighthouse Point and all of Florida. As an independent agent we represent many top rated companies in both the personal and commercial lines. We place your policy with the company offering the best coverage at a reasonable price. We offer a complete line of personal, commercial, life and health insurance products, designed exclusively for your insurance needs. Serving South Florida for almost 30 years, Pettineo Insurance offers the highly personalized service and stability that you should expect from your insurance agent.