LANSING, Mich. – Over 750,000 Michigan consumers are now buying their own health coverage either through the Marketplace or directly from an insurance company. The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding consumers that, barring certain qualifying events, open enrollment is the only opportunity they have to get coverage for 2017. Open enrollment for 2017 private health insurance coverage begins today, November 1, 2016 and runs through January 31, 2017.

“It is important for Michigan citizens to know that private health coverage can only be purchased during the open enrollment period regardless of whether they purchase their coverage on the Marketplace or directly through an insurance company,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin.

Consumers shopping for coverage through the Marketplace can apply online at www.healthcare.gov, by mail, over the phone at 800-318-2596 or in person with the help of a local assister. Consumers shopping for coverage outside of the Marketplace can do so by contacting insurance companies directly or by utilizing the assistance of a licensed insurance agent. A list of companies that sell major medical coverage can be found through the DIFS website.

Regardless of which path you choose, if you don’t enroll in a health insurance plan by Jan. 31, 2017, you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan for 2017 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Key Dates for Open Enrollment

  • Nov. 1, 2016: Start of Open Enrollment – first day you can enroll in a 2017 insurance plan.
  • Dec. 15, 2016: Last day to enroll (or change plans) for coverage starting Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Jan. 15, 2017: Last day to enroll (or change plans) for coverage starting Feb. 1, 2017.
  • Jan. 31, 2017: End of Open Enrollment. If you enroll or make changes between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31, coverage will begin March 1, 2017.

If you purchased health insurance through the Marketplace last year, you will be auto-enrolled in the same or similar plan unless you select a different plan by Dec. 15. However, if your current health insurer is not offering coverage through the Marketplace for 2017, you need to select a plan from a different insurer by December 15, 2016.  If you fail to select another plan, you will be automatically enrolled into a different insurer unless you opt out of the coverage.

The four carriers withdrawing from the individual Marketplace in 2017 are:

  • Harbor Health Plan (HMO)
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan (HMO)
  • Priority Health Insurance Company (PPO)
    • Note: Priority Health (HMO) will continue to be on the individual Marketplace
  • Alliance Health and Life Insurance Company
    • Note: Health Alliance Plan (HMO) will continue to be on the individual Marketplace

DIFS strongly recommends consumers who are currently insured with one of the four carriers actively seek out their own replacement coverage.

DIFS encourages consumers to shop around for health insurance. There may be new options that are less expensive or better suits your needs. In addition, if you use the Marketplace, your eligibility for subsidies depends on your income and available policies in your area. Either of these may have changed from last year. Even if your income and chosen plan have not changed, if there is a less expensive option it could affect the amount of a subsidy. If you do not complete a new eligibility determination, you may be responsible for repaying the difference between what you are currently receiving and what you should receive when you file your 2017 taxes.

DIFS offers tools, guides, and resources on their website which is available for use 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the DIFS Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program’s (HICAP) website, www.michigan.gov/hicap. This site contains information on the Marketplace and the Affordable Care Act. HICAP also has a toll-free number, 877-999-6442, for consumers who wish to speak to someone about their questions or concerns.

For more information about DIFS or the services provided, please visit the website at www.michigan.gov/difs, follow them on Twitter or “Like” them on Facebook.

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