The Wyoming Insurance Department talks about upcoming open enrollment periods for health insurance.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) – It looks like we’ve just made our health insurance decisions and now it’s time to do it again. Now is the time for all Wyoming consumers to evaluate their health insurance choices for the year 2021 plan. The Wyoming Department of Insurance advises ALL consumers to be aware of the open enrollment periods for both Medicare and the ACA Marketplace . If you get your health insurance through an employer, check with your HR representative for the open enrollment dates for that particular employer insurance group.

Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7, 2020. During this time, people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for 2021 to better meet their needs. You may choose not to make any changes, but it’s important to review your coverage annually.

Wyoming Medicare beneficiaries should review their health care needs for the following year and determine if changes to their current coverage are needed. Plan costs, drug coverage, and prescriptions can change every year. Make sure your plan still meets your needs and budget. While enrolling in Medicare Open, anyone with Medicare can make changes to prescription drug plans (Plan D) for the next year or switch from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, if available.

The Wyoming State Health Insurance Information Program (WSHIIP) is a federally mandated program to help people on Medicare understand their rights and answer their questions about plan options. Statewide qualified consultants promote understanding of Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap, and long-term care insurance. There are numerous consulting firms across the state offering these paid services, however the WSHIIP program is free. , call 1-800-856-4398.

Registration open for ACA Health Insurance MarketplaceThe open registration period for 2021 runs from Sunday 1st November to Tuesday 15th December 2020. Registrations open for 2021 are only for a few weeks. If you don’t take action by December 15, you can’t get 2021 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Plans sold during open enrollments begin January 1, 2021.

Purchase and compare choices and update registration information. Whether you are renewing a plan or a new member, Open Enrollment periods are an opportunity to evaluate your insurance coverage. People who have been financially affected by COVID19 and have suffered a loss of income are now eligible for a subsidy in the market. Depending on your income, you may qualify for an Advanced Tax Credit (APTC) and you may be eligible for coverage that has very low premium costs.

It is very important that Wyoming residents who receive their insurance through Marketplace re-enroll during open enrollments to avoid any break in coverage. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains the law and subsidized insurance coverage is still available to those who are eligible. The federal government operates the Health Insurance Marketplace or Exchange in Wyoming at: www.HealthCare.gov. Make sure you look at the official government site and not a site of similar imposters. Remember: always look for official government seals, logos and websites. The official Marketplace website is at: www.HealthCare.gov. Contact the Insurance Department if you have any questions.

Talk to your insurance agent or visit the HealthCare.gov website to familiarize yourself with the services they offer. Compare Marketplace Insurance Plans and Rates. Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC) and Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR) are only available for plans purchased on the Marketplace. Authorized insurance agents can advise you which plan is best for you. If you decide to buy insurance from the Marketplace or the Exchange, be a wise consumer and understand what you are buying. Be especially cautious with off-the-shelf plans that sound too good to be true. Ask about exclusions, healthcare provider networks and hidden costs in Off-Exchange plans. The plans sold on the ACA Marketplace (also called the Exchange) are always Qualified Health Plans (QHP) and cover all ten essential health benefits required by the ACA. ACA qualified plans are not based on pre-existing conditions. Short Term Limited Term (STLD) plans, fixed benefit, and specific disease plans may exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions and may charge you a fee based on your age and any previous medical conditions.

If you receive health insurance through an employer, consider the following before selecting a coverage plan:

• Look for changes carefully: do not automatically renew the option you had before; employer’s plans may have changed since the last open membership.

• Take advantage of wellness incentives: Your employer may offer a wellness program that includes money-saving incentives for healthy behaviors such as regular exercise or no smoking.

• Check Tax Free Savings: You may be eligible to open a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA).

If you are self-employed or if your employer does not offer coverage, you may face difficulties in finding and maintaining health insurance, but you still have choices.

• Spouse plan: Consider being added to your spouse’s plan.

• Individual Insurance: Consider purchasing private insurance to be tailored to your lifestyle, health and budget.

If you are unemployed, you have probably had to determine how to continue your health insurance. Now is a good time to review your decision. Also check to see if you or your family might be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP of the children’s health insurance program).

In addition to insurance agents, the federal government has also trained certified navigators and assistants in Wyoming to help you at no cost. To find help, visit: www.HealthCare.gov or obtain a referral to a Wyoming navigator for in-person assistance by contacting Wyoming 2-1-1 (in Wyoming dial 2-1-1 or 888-425-7138) or visit Wyoming211.org.

Copyright 2020 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.

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