January 31 is the final deadline for individuals and families to receive health coverage in 2017.
The Utah Insurance Department, which is the state agency mandated to regulate insurance marketed and sold in Utah, offers guidelines for researching health insurance during this final open enrollment period.
“The department’s mission is to foster a healthy insurance market,” said Utah Insurance Commissioner Todd Kiser. “We are here as a resource and portal for those with insurance questions. As a state agency, we strive to help all Utahns navigate through any insurance related questions they may have. We encourage everyone to take the time to ask the appropriate questions and educate themselves on the important deadlines ahead.”
As of 2010, Americans are required to enroll for health insurance for themselves or pay a penalty. Dependents up to 26 years old can be covered under their family’s health insurance plans. For health insurance coverage starting February 1, 2017, the deadline for enrollment is January 15, 2017 and for coverage starting March 1, 2017, the deadline is January 31, 2017. The next open enrollment period starts in November 2017, so Utahns who want insurance this year should shop and enroll now.
When searching for health insurance, the UID recommends using these questions as a guide and contacting an insurance agent for more information:
- Will the out-of-pocket cost be affordable?
If you don’t maintain a cushion of funds in the bank, you may want a health plan with a low deductible. If you do have savings and can afford a higher deductible (if necessary), you may be able to find a plan with lower monthly payments.
- Who will be covered under this plan?
You are mostly likely looking to have coverage for you and your dependents, but there may be other options that you might not have considered.
- What’s the deductible?
This is the amount you pay out-of-pocket for covered health care services before your insurance plan begins paying. Plans with lower monthly premiums have higher deductibles and narrow provider networks, while plans with higher premiums often have lower deductibles and wider networks. There are a variety of plans that differ in coverage and deductibles, as well as plans that have specific deductibles for different services. Family plans often have both an individual deductible, which applies for each person and a family deductible which applies to all family members.
- What does the policy cover?
Health insurance policies vary greatly in costs and what they will or will not cover. Most plans cover at least a portion of the most important benefits, such as doctor visits, hospitalization, maternity and infant care, and preventive care.
- What question should I ask my insurance agent?
Working with an insurance agent can help you select the right plan for you and your family. Visitutahinsurancedepartment.com for help finding an insurance agent near you.
“January marks a new year with new goals and new priorities,” said Kiser. “I urge everyone to make their health a priority in 2017 by visiting our website, utahinsurancedepartment.com and researching their health insurance options.”
The Utah Insurance 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 agents.
To learn more about individual insurance companies or individual agents and how the Utah Insurance Department can help you, visit www.utahinsurancedepartment.