It’s Open Enrollment Season. Here’s what you need to know!

Open enrollment — the period each year when people are eligible to purchase new insurance or make changes to their existing insurance plans — is upon us. Buying health insurance can be confusing, but it’s critically important that everyone in the neuromuscular community have coverage. We are pleased to share some FAQs below to help you ensure that you can get the right kind of coverage for you and your family.

When is open enrollment?

Open enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through January 15. For most people who rely on non-employer coverage, this will be the only time to purchase insurance until the next open enrollment period in November 2022.

Where do I go to enroll for coverage?

Visit www.healthcare.gov to get started. This website will show you where you can enroll for coverage in your state. Also, you can call 1-800-318-2596 for assistance.

States might have a different process for enrolling but going to www.healthcare.gov will ensure you start on the right track.

When is the earliest my coverage would begin?

If you enroll by Dec. 15, your coverage should begin on Jan. 1, 2022. If you sign-up after Dec. 15 but before January 15th, your coverage should start on February 1, 2022.

What if I miss the January 15 deadline?

In most cases, you would have to wait until November 2022 to enroll for coverage unless you experience a qualifying life event, such as getting married, losing a job, or having a child. If you do experience a qualifying event, you can visit www.healthcare.gov to see your options.

Don’t risk it — enroll before the deadline!

Are these healthcare plans comprehensive?

Yes. Plans purchased on www.healthcare.gov are guaranteed to be comprehensive and include all essential health benefits, such as screenings, prescriptions, doctor visits, mental health services, and hospital stays.

Can I be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition?

No. Current law ensures everyone who applies for coverage will be accepted regardless of any pre-existing condition, including neuromuscular disease (NMD).

Is there assistance to help me afford coverage?

Yes. Many people who enroll in coverage qualify for subsidies to help them afford their out-of-pocket costs. You may also be eligible for your state Medicaid program.

You can find out if you qualify for financial assistance or Medicaid coverage when you begin the enrollment process on www.healthcare.gov.

Are there yearly or lifetime caps on coverage?

No. The Affordable Care Act banned both yearly and lifetime caps on coverage with these insurance plans.

I am a caregiver or other family member of someone living with NMD and don’t have any underlying health conditions. Why should I enroll in coverage?

As the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the country, the future is uncertain. Even if you don’t need medical care today, you might in 2022. An unforeseen illness or accident requiring hospitalization could cost thousands of dollars out-of-pocket, if uninsured. Therefore, obtaining coverage now is important for your health next year.

What is the most important thing to remember during this open enrollment period?

  • Open enrollment is open now and ends on January 15.
  • Enroll at www.healthcare.gov
  • Once open enrollment ends, you might not be able to purchase health insurance again until next year.