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Local agent provides tips on Open Enrollment process

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million Americans have been enrolled in insurance plans, many of whom qualify for a tax credit that makes insurance more affordable. Open enrollment is a time to make changes to your health insurance plan or to buy a different one. 

Open Enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is in full swing, with deadlines to apply or change an insurance plan quickly approaching. Kevin Corbin, who owns and operates two Blue Cross and Blue Shield locations in North Carolina and South Carolina talked about the process and what people need to know. 

“There are currently two different Open Enrollment periods going on,” Corbin said. “For Medicare recipients, they can enroll or change their current health care plans until December 7. Then, for individuals who are under 65 and are enrolling in standard insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, the deadline is December 15.”

Open enrollment for plans through the Affordable Care Act starts Nov. 1 and goes through Dec. 15, 2019. In order to get coverage to start on Jan. 1, you’ll need to select a plan by Dec. 15.

Corbin said if you are happy with your current policy and insurance plan, then you can keep it as long as it is still being offered. 

“If you are happy with your coverage, then you don’t have to do anything at all,” said Corbin. “As long as that plan is still being offered, which most of them are, you don’t have to do anything and you will continue with the same coverage you have had.”

According to Corbin, a lot of people may find themselves turning to the ACA Marketplace for the first time as an estimated 260,000 North Carolinians are without insurance due to a loss of employment associated with COVID19. 

“With unexpected unemployment occurring because of COVID19, hundreds of thousands of people in our state no longer have insurance,” said Corbin. “If those individuals did not enroll through the Marketplace during the Special Enrollment Period, or the days after losing their jobs, then Open Enrollment will be the first time they will have a chance to shop insurance plans through the ACA.”

Individuals can buy an individual health plan through the ACA marketplace or directly from an insurance provider. 

Qualifying depends on your family size and income and your family income must fall between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL). 

Based on this formula, for 2021 coverage for a family of four, the income bracket between 100% and 400% is $26,200 to $104,800.

While individuals can shop insurance plans through the Marketplace online, Corbin recommends visiting an insurance agent, who will help them navigate the process. 

“We help people sign up for insurance and understand their options, and it does not cost anything fo your services,” said Corbin. “If you are sick, you go to a licensed medical professional, so when you need insurance, you should go to a licensed insurance agent. We have a program that makes it easy to see and understand all of your options and it does not cost anything for you to make an appointment and sit down with us.”

To schedule an appointment with Corbin at Corbin Insurance, call 828.524.7799. For more information about Open Enrollment and the Affordable Care Act, visit healthcare.gov

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