DHSS Press Release
|Date: December 9, 2015
|Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
DEC. 15 IS DEADLINE TO ENROLL FOR COVERAGE THAT STARTS JAN. 1 THROUGH HE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE
Delawareans are urged to update their applications on HealthCare.gov even if they plan to keep their current insurance
NEW CASTLE (Dec. 9, 2015) - Dec. 15 is the last day for Delawareans to sign up through the Health Insurance Marketplace if they want their coverage to be effective Jan. 1.
Coverage for all 2015 plans ends Dec. 31, regardless of when you enrolled. If you bought a health insurance plan this year, you can renew your current plan or enroll in a different plan for 2016. Open enrollment continues through Jan. 31.
While insurance companies will automatically renew many enrollees' coverage, consumers who bought a marketplace plan are strongly advised to go to www.HealthCare.gov to update their household income and other personal information for 2016 - even if they plan to keep their current insurance. That's the only way to be sure their premium tax credit and other savings for 2016 are accurate.
"Our first priority is to connect people to care through the private plans that are offered on Delaware's Marketplace," Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "By enrolling by Dec. 15, Delawareans can have their coverage begin Jan. 1, and can start the year off with peace of mind knowing their health care needs for 2016 will be covered."
By comparing from among Delaware's 29 individual plans, consumers also may find new plans and prices that work better for them. During the last enrollment season, 84 percent of Delawareans got financial help paying for coverage. Their average monthly tax credit was $260.
Delawareans can enroll in marketplace coverage at HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov, or through an agent or broker. Delaware-based enrollment specialists are available to help consumers apply and enroll; the help is free. To find help go to ChooseHealthDE.com or call 211, the state's referral resource for health and human services. Help is also available by calling the federal marketplace help center at 1 (800) 318-2596, TTY: 1 (855) 889-4325.
HealthCare.gov is the only online source where you can apply for and, if eligible, receive federal tax credits when purchasing and enrolling. Tax credits, which help to lower the monthly premium, are available for individuals making up to about $46,000 a year and for families of four who earn up to about $95,000 a year.
If you know you are not eligible for the premium tax credit, you have the option of purchasing insurance directly through the insurance company's website.
Open enrollment in 2016 plans began Nov. 1. As of Dec. 5, more than 7,700 Delawareans had either picked a new plan or renewed their 2015 plan. Through the first two seasons of open enrollment, more than 23,000 people enrolled or re-enrolled for coverage on Delaware's marketplace and paid their premiums to activate their coverage.
Among those who have re-enrolled for 2016 is a Dover man who was diagnosed with cancer this year and is no longer able to work because of the treatments he needs. Working with an enrollment specialist from Westside Family Healthcare, he was eligible for a tax credit and will have a monthly premium of less than $20 for his 2016 coverage, which will benefit him as his treatments continue.
"When I hear stories like this gentleman's, I am reminded of the great need for the kind of coverage that the Health Insurance Marketplace offers, and of the security such coverage can bring," Secretary Landgraf said. "I urge consumers who need insurance to explore their options for 2016 and to take advantage of the free help available."
The penalty for going uninsured will increase significantly in 2016. Those who are not exempt and do not buy insurance will face payments of $695 per adult (plus $347.50 for each child not covered) or 2.5 percent of their household income, whichever is higher, when they pay their 2016 taxes in early 2017. Individuals who did not have health insurance coverage in 2015 will pay the fee on their federal income-tax return that they file in early 2016. Plus, individuals who are subject to the penalty will still be responsible for medical expenses they incur.
In addition to the health insurance marketplace, some residents might be eligible for coverage through Delaware's expanded Medicaid program, which is open year-round. More than 9,000 people have received coverage under the Medicaid expansion. To be screened for or to apply for Medicaid benefits, go to Delaware ASSIST at https://assist.dhss.delaware.gov/.
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.