The days are getting shorter, kids are going back to school, and you might already be dreaming of Thanksgiving dinner. And you know what else happens in the fall? Open Enrollment for health insurance begins on November 1st. While the annual enrollment period does run through January 31st of next year, it’s really best to make decisions about health insurance early in the enrollment season, so that any changes you make will become effective by the first of the year.

So yes, that means you have a little less than two months before Open Enrollment begins. Choosing a new health insurance plan (or sticking with your current one) requires a series of careful decisions, so the early birds are getting started before November 1st.

Explore your options. Ask your employer if they plan to offer group health insurance benefits.  Larger businesses are already required to do so, but many small businesses are also offering health insurance to their employees. If you won’t be covered by an employer’s plan, then you need to shop for your own policy, or risk a penalty on your taxes next year.

Determine if you are eligible for a subsidy.  While health insurance can be expensive, keep in mind that you might be eligible for a subsidy to help with the cost. Remember to consider the cost of copayments and annual deductibles as well.  As mentioned before, there are tax penalties for not having a qualified health insurance plan.

Compare health insurance plans.  In addition to considering the premiums and plan coverage, you might be concerned with whether you can keep your same doctor or need more information about coverage for certain treatments and medications. These are all very important factors to consider when comparing health insurance plans.

Gather your information. When you apply for health insurance, you will have to supply certain information about your household. Gather Social Security numbers for everyone in the home and grab a copy of your most recent tax return for income verification purposes

Don’t panic, just give us a call.  We can assist you in comparing plans on The Exchange (Obama Care) and off Exchange plans.  We will also make sure you understand the plan’s coverage and out of pocket costs.  And very importantly, we will help you determine if you are eligible for a subsidy to help with the premium and out of pocket costs.

Our agents are trained to make the process of selecting and applying for a health insurance plan as simple as possible.  You will receive the knowledge and experience of a trusted advisor with the care and concern as if you were family.  You can reach us at 951-676-8800.