The 2016 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) begins on Nov. 1st through Jan. 31. This is the only time of year where Americans can enroll or change their health plans without any restrictions. This year, consumers will see these 5 key changes
All-New 2016 Plans
The good news? 80% of consumers can expect monthly costs of under $100 dollars after tax credits for a quality health insurance plan. And about 70% can expect monthly premiums less than $75.
For 2016, the average benchmark plan costs will increase on average 7.5 percent nation-wide and those living in largest cities can expect an increase of 6.3 percent. About 80% of individuals in 2015 Marketplace enrollees qualified for “subsidies” with allowed consumers to reduce their monthly insurance bill by $270 per month.
There are hundreds of new plans and consumers are urged to shop around. In 2015 almost 53 percent of consumers with insurance returned to select a new plan. Consumers with insurance or without can view 2016 plans here.
Higher Tax Penalty in 2016
The 2016 tax penalty will increase again this year. Each year since the Marketplace opened, the tax penalty has increase in order to discourage Americans from going without health coverage. If you fail to enroll in 2016, you must pay either: $695 per adult or 2.5 percent of your income (whichever is greater). Children without insurance are an additional penalty of $347.50 each and each. You can calculate your 2016 subsidy by completing the form here.
Employer Mandate Starts
Delayed from 2014, 2016 will see the start of the Employer Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act. About 96 percent of employers are small businesses with fewer than 50 workers and are exempt. But all businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTE) must provide health insurance to at least 95 percent of their full time employees and dependents. If not, they’ll pay a new fee in 2016. The purpose of this mandate is to punish employers who either:
- Offer no coverage at all to their employees. A penalty of $2,000 per FTE applies if one FTE receives federal premium Marketplace subsidies. For 2016 and beyond, employers can exclude 30 employees.
- Offer coverage not meeting the new quality standards of the ACA (60 percent of total allowed costs). The penalty is the lesser of $3,000 per FTE receiving subsidies or $2,000 per FTE (minus the first 30).
An increase in the number of Insuers and plan offerings
In 2016, enrollees can expect more plans and insurers overall. This increases competition among insurers to help keep rates low. Over two-thirds of the states covered by the federal government will have three or more benchmark plan issuers. California will welcome UHC and Oscar plans and some states such as New Jersey, with an estimated 250,000 Marketplace enrollees, will have access to 59 different plans from five companies, including new UHC and Americare plans.