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Knowledge is power, and communication is key. Next month the health insurance marketplace will open for the 2019 special enrollment period, which encompasses potential benefit options for your plan participants.
While many employers may think that coverage outside of their group health plan does not concern their business, this article addresses some information that may be of substantial benefit to the employees, retirees, COBRA members and state continuation participants of your employer group. Informing your plan participants of coverage options is an important aspect of benefits education, compliance, risk reduction and best HR practice.
Active employees or their dependents who are on COBRA or continuation coverage due to qualifying events may need new benefits in the coming new year. The Special Open Enrollment period for the health insurance marketplace allows qualified beneficiaries to enroll into plan(s) during a specific time each year. For 2019 open enrollment, this window of opportunity begins on November 1st, 2018 and closes on December 15th, 2018.
Retirees who are seeking alternative coverage or who are eligible for supplemental health insurance may find that marketplace options are an ideal option.
Further, life events such as getting married, having a baby, or losing other coverage qualifies individuals for enrollment into marketplace health plan options which can be a great option for families who need alternatives to COBRA and state continuation.
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:
November 1, 2018: Open Enrollment starts — first day you can enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2019 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2019.
December 15, 2018: Last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2019.
Coverage outside of open enrollment: Can be obtained coverage if individuals qualify for a special enrollment period due to a QE (qualifying event)— like getting married, losing other coverage, or having a baby.
Short term coverage plans may also be available during this time to help those needing to bridge the coverage gap from now until the end of the year. Employees, beneficiaries, retirees and plan participants may receive more detailed information by visiting your company's annual Notice of Exchange (issued by employer) or by contacting agents at healthcare.gov.
How we can help. CobraHelp assists employers, brokers and plan participants by providing important notices and education about benefit options, important dates, and compliance requirements. Our company has been assisting employer groups of all sizes in all fifty states for over 32 years as we are industry Experts. Want to have us join your HR team? Contact us for a free consultation today!