2015-2016If you purchase health insurance for yourself or your family (vs. getting coverage through your employer), it is time to begin thinking about your 2016 coverage.

Here are some dates to keep in mind:

November 1, 2015.  The start of Open Enrollment for 2016 health insurance.

Open Enrollment is the time when you can apply for new health insurance coverage, or, if you already have coverage, you can choose to keep your current plan, or pick a new one. 

2016 Open Enrollment is from November 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016.

November 1 – December 15, 2015. Enroll between these dates for coverage beginning January 1, 2016.  If you already have coverage and you want to change plans or your plan is changing, you must enroll by December 15, 2015 to avoid a lapse in coverage.

December 16, 2015 – January 15, 2016.  Enroll between these dates for coverage beginning February 1, 2016.

December 31, 2015.  The date coverage ends for 2015 plans.

January 16 – January 31, 2016.  Enroll between these dates for coverage beginning March 1, 2016.

January 31, 2016.  The last day of Open Enrollment for 2016 coverage.

After January 31, 2016, you will be able to purchase 2016 coverage only if you have a qualifying event that makes you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

Get an Early Start on Choosing Coverage for 2016

Each year, health insurance carriers make adjustments to their plans.  This means the benefits, options, and pricing for your current health insurance are all subject to change when the new policy year begins on January 1, 2016.

We urge you to carefully review your options to make sure you are getting the right coverage to meet your needs.

You can check out your options for coverage:

If you are subsidy-eligible and live in Virginia visit www.enrollvirginianow.com.

If you are not subsidy-eligible click here for instant quotes from several carriers in Virginia, Maryland, and DC.

But don’t wait until the last minute!  As in years past, we expect heavy call and email volume during Open Enrollment.

Please be sure to contact us early enough so we may be of assistance as you make your 2016 selection.

It’s best to reach us by phone at 703-707-8270.

Open EnrollmentOpen Enrollment is a set time period each year during which anyone can buy a new health insurance plan for any reason.

If you enroll during Open Enrollment, you cannot be denied coverage.

Open Enrollment for 2016 coverage is November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016.

If you are currently uninsured, this is your chance to get coverage for 2016 and avoid a penalty tax for being uninsured.

If you are currently covered under an individual/family health plan (vs. having coverage through your employer), you can expect to hear from your health insurance carrier sometime in October with news about any changes the company will make to your plan and/or pricing for 2016.

If you are comfortable with your carrier’s offering for 2016, you won’t need to do anything.

Simply continue to pay your premiums on time* and your coverage will renew (or the new plan that’s been selected for you will start) effective January 1, 2016.

However, if you’re not satisfied with what’s being offered, or if you’re curious about what else may be available, we’ve made it easy to research your options.

Will You Qualify for a Subsidy in 2016?

Whether you need new coverage or want to switch plans in 2016, first find out if you will qualify for a subsidy based on your projected 2016 income:

# People in Your Household
1 2 3 4 5 6
You may qualify for a premium subsidy if your yearly income is between …. $11,770 -$47,080 $15,930 – $63,720 $20,090 -$80,360 $24,250 – $97,000 $28,410 – $113,640 $32,570 – $130,280

Browse 2016 Health Plans

If you do qualify and you live in Virginia, visit www.enrollvirginianow.com to take a preliminary look at available “on-exchange” plans. This is Virginia Medical Plans’ exclusive portal into the federal exchange that expedites enrollment — just for our Virginia clients.

If you don’t qualify, you’ll want to purchase coverage directly from the carrier of your choice. We offer convenient one-stop access to preview and enroll in “off-exchange” plans in Virginia and Maryland, as well as all plans in DC, at www.vamedicalplans.com. Click on Get Quotes. We’ll send you updated pricing as it becomes available.

Open Enrollment Starts November 1

The first day you can enroll in a 2016 plan is November 1, 2015. But we expect the carriers to update our websites with 2016 plans and pricing in mid-October.

We are available to help you sort through your options so you’re ready to go when Nov 1 comes around.

We work with all the major carriers in Virginia — both on- and off-exchange — and can advise you of the best plan for your needs. We also work with off-exchange plans in Maryland, as well as exchange plans in DC (Carefirst and Kaiser Permanente).

Best of all, there is never a fee for our services! Your premium will be the same no matter how or where you buy your coverage.

But when you work with Virginia Medical Plans, you have access to our assistance now and for the life of your policy!

We are standing by to take your call at 703-707-8270.

*Some carriers require you to notify them if you plan to continue paying premiums via bank draft when selecting a new plan for 2016. Please check with your carrier.

1040 with CalculatorDid you receive a subsidy to help you pay for health insurance in 2014?

Have you filed your 2014 federal income tax return?

If you collected a subsidy in 2014, but did not file a 2014 tax return — Form 1040 with Form 8962 — you cannot get a subsidy in 2016.

The IRS communicated this in IRS Letter 5591 this summer, and you may also soon hear from your state’s marketplace and/or your health insurance carrier* as we approach open enrollment for 2016 health insurance.

It is critical you file your 2014 tax return ASAP because the marketplaces use federal tax returns to verify income and determine if you are eligible for a subsidy.  If your taxes are not in order, your health insurance plan may be renewed for 2016 without a subsidy.

Here are some questions you may have:

2014 Tax Filing Requirement – Frequently Asked Questions

Can I file a 2014 Form 1040EZ to satisfy the requirement outlined in IRS Letter 5591?

No. You must file a full Form 1040, with IRS Form 8962 – Premium Tax Credit – in order to keep your federal financial assistance in 2016.

I don’t normally file taxes because my income is below the filing threshold. Do I still need to file?

Yes.  Even if you don’t normally file, you must file a full Form 1040, with IRS Form 8962, or you cannot get a subsidy in 2016.

How do I complete Form 8962?

You should have received a Form 1095-A from the Marketplace. If you don’t have it, you can log into your account on healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace to view a copy. Form 1095-A contains the information you will need to file Form 8962. Click here for more information.

I filed for an extension and have not yet filed my 2014 tax return.  What should I do?

The deadline for a 2014 extension is October 15, 2015. This will be too late to qualify for federal assistance in 2016. You should file your Form 1040 with Form 8962 right away. Once you have filed, go into your Marketplace account (healthcare.gov for Virginia residents) and check the box indicating you have filed your taxes.  This will allow the Marketplace to renew your coverage with a subsidy.

I did not collect a subsidy in 2014 but I do now in 2015. What should I do?

You don’t need to do anything now to continue to receive a subsidy in 2016.  However, you will need to file your 2015 federal tax return — full Form 1040 with Form 8962 — to receive a subsidy in 2017.

Consult a Tax Professional

Virginia Medical Plans is available to help you with your health insurance needs, but for specific tax questions, it’s best to consult a tax professional. You can also visit the IRS website.

If we can be of assistance on a health insurance matter, please give us a call at 703-707-8270.

*If you filed a 2014 tax return but receive a letter from you health insurance carrier, you may disregard the letter. Insurance companies do not have access to IRS data and may send the letter as a courtesy to all policyholders who collected a subsidy in 2014.