No matter what health plan you purchased through Arizona’s Health Insurance Marketplace last year, you can still change plans for 2015.
You can change plans even if you were enrolled automatically for 2015, and even after your new coverage has started.
The deadline is Feb. 15. Change plans by then and your new coverage can start March 1.
If you were automatically enrolled, you’ll be covered from Jan. 1 until your new plan takes effect.
Why would you want to change plans? You may have found a plan with lower costs or local doctors and hospitals that you like.
It’s easy to shop for a new plan. Just go to https://www.healthcare.gov/see-plans and you can view the plans that do business where you live. If you decide to change plans, log into your Marketplace account at Healthcare.gov and follow these steps.
Select “My Plans & Programs.”
If you haven’t had any changes to your income or household since you last updated your Marketplace application, you can select “Change to a different plan” to compare plans, select one, and enroll. Premiums shown will be based on savings you qualified for in 2014. That may not be the correct savings for you for 2015.
If you have any changes in your income or household to report since you last updated your application, select “Report a life change” on the left side of the screen, then click the “Report a life change” button.
Update your information, including any changes in income, household members, and other health coverage offers. You’ll get new eligibility results that show any premium tax credit and other savings you qualify for in 2015.
Then you can compare costs and coverage, and enroll in a plan.
If you were automatically enrolled, your automatic enrollment message included a Plan ID number. Use this number to compare your plan with others.
You can choose a new plan or stick with the one you were automatically enrolled in, if you want.
It’s very important to finish all the steps on the to-do list that appears after you submit your application. Select “Continue to Enrollment” and enroll in the plan you want, even if it’s the same plan you had in 2014.
If you don’t, your updates and plan changes won’t take effect.
If you didn’t enroll in a plan last year, you also have until Feb. 15 to choose a plan for this year.
After Feb. 15, you can’t change plans for the rest of 2015. The exception is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
In the Marketplace, you qualify for a special enrollment period for 60 days following certain life events that involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or the birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage.
Can you enroll in a plan outside the Marketplace? Yes, you can. But the only way to get premium tax credits and savings on out-of-pocket costs is to buy your plan through the Marketplace.
About 77 percent of Arizonans recently qualified for financial assistance to lower their monthly premiums.
If your income is too high to qualify for premium tax credits, you may want to explore plans available outside the Marketplace.
You can learn more about buying a plan outside the Marketplace at https://www.healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/income-too-high-for-tax-credit/.
• David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. Get answers to your Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).