What to know about health insurance for 2017 Open Enrollment

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Nov. 1 marks the start of open enrollment and there are some big changes in the Hoosier marketplace in 2017.

Experts say across the board people will pay more each month for coverage, and there are fewer carriers offering insurance in the individual marketplace.

CBS4 spoke with health advisers at Bernard Health to get some tips on how to best prepare for choosing the right coverage.

“As consumers, price drives much of our decision making,” says Matt Kleymeyer, market leader for Bernard health, “it’s really important to reevaluate every year to make sure you’re on the right plan.”

When open enrollment begins, Bernard Health receives thousands of inquiries about what plan is the best option for an individual or family. Before sitting down to enroll, Kleymeyer says it’s important to review a few key things: what networks do your current physicians operate in, what types of prescriptions do you use, do you plan on expanding your family or anticipate any surgical procedures?

Simply picking the lowest monthly premium, Kleymeyer says, could end up being more costly if your favorite doctor is out of network.

“You could be buying something that’s not of much value to you, or you have to make changes,” says Kleymeyer.

Across the board, insurance providers are shifting the cost more and more to the customer to mitigate the rising cost of healthcare. Kleymeyer says that most people will see a premium increase of about 18-20 percent depending on their carrier and coverage plan.

“What an individual might find is, for the same price in their plan, they may have to make changes to their deductible—so increasing their deductible or taking on greater cost sharing if they want to keep the same price as last year,” Kleymeyer added.

The deadline to enroll for coverage effective January 1, 2017 is Dec. 15, 2016. If a person applies between Dec. 16 and 31, their coverage won’t begin until Feb. 1, 2017.

When New Year’s Eve rolls around, and you haven’t enrolled, you will be automatically renewed in your current plan, which could mean automatic changes in coverage and cost.

If someone can afford health insurance but chooses not to buy it, that person or family must pay the individual mandate “penalty.” The fee is calculated as two-point-five percent of the annual household income, or a price per person penalty up to $2,085.

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