November 1 marks the beginning of open enrollment for health insurance, and the time when thousands of Utahns must choose the best plan for them and their families.
The Utah Insurance Department, a state agency mandated to regulate insurance marketed and sold in Utah, brings insight on what questions to ask and how the UID can help during this busy insurance season.
“Insurance can be confusing and sometimes intimidating territory if you don’t know what questions to ask or where to go for answers — but we’re here to help,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd Kiser. “The Utah Insurance Department is a resource to help Utahns better understand what questions to ask as they research the best plan for them and their families.”
The UID recommends asking these five questions to help Utahns get the best health coverage for 2017:
- When is the open enrollment period?
Shopping for health insurance begins November 1, 2016 and ends January 31, 2017.
- When will my insurance plan go into effect?
For coverage starting January 1, 2017, the deadline is December 15, 2016. For coverage starting February 1, 2017, the deadline is January 15, 2017. For coverage starting March 1, 2017, the deadline is January 31, 2017.
Bottom line: Make sure to enroll by December 15 if you need health insurance for all of 2017.
- What kind of coverage is best for my family and me?
Every plan is different. Look at the plans themselves, the monthly premiums, the provider and non-provider networks and the deductible.
- What if I choose the wrong plan? Life events, like changing jobs or getting married, will let you switch to a new plan mid-year. It is possible to cancel a plan, but it is difficult and it may result in a tax penalty. It may be better to wait until the next open enrollment in 2017 to avoid additional costs and challenges.
- How can an insurance agent help me?
Insurance agents are experts on insurance. There is no cost to get their advice and recommendations. If you don’t have an agent, you can search for one atwww.utahinsurancedepartment.
“The department’s mission is to foster a healthy insurance market,” said Kiser. “We promote fair and reasonable practices that ensure available, affordable and reliable insurance products and services. We can also help people who have questions or concerns about their existing insurance coverage. We encourage Utahns to visit the Utah Insurance Department’s web site at www.utahinsurancedepartment.
The department currently regulates more than 95,000 licensed agents, agencies and insurers. The UID also strives to educate, serve and protect consumers, governmental agencies and insurance industry participants at a reasonable cost. Over the years, the department has helped thousands of individuals navigate the difficult insurance process and find answers to their questions.
The UID is a hub of insurance knowledge that can provide insight on auto and home insurance; health insurance; life and annuity insurance; and other types of insurance. The department also provides resources to learn more about individual insurance companies and individual agents.
As of 2010, Americans are required to enroll for health insurance for themselves or face a fee. Children up to 26 years old are covered under current family health insurance plans.
To learn more about individual insurance companies or individual agents and how the Utah Insurance Department can help you, visit www.utahinsurancedepartment.