What You Need to Know About Open Enrollment in 2020

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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 Dec. 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 2021.

Where do I go to enroll for coverage?

Visit www.healthcare.gov or www.getcovered2021.org to get started. These websites 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 processes for enrolling, but going to www.healthcare.gov or www.getcovered2021.org will ensure you start on the right track.

When will my coverage begin?

If you enroll by the Dec. 15 deadline, your coverage should begin on Jan. 1, 2021.

What if I miss the Dec. 15 deadline?

In most cases, you would have to wait until November 2021 to enroll for coverage unless you experience a qualifying life event, such as getting married, losing a job, or having a child.

Don’t risk it — enroll before the deadline!

Are these healthcare plans comprehensive?

Yes. Plans purchased on the sites listed above 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 or www.getcovered2021.org.

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 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the country, the future is uncertain. Even if you don’t need medical care today, you might in 2021. Therefore, obtaining coverage now is important for your health next year.

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

  1. Open enrollment is open now and ends on Dec. 15.
  2. Enroll at www.healthcare.gov or www.getcovered2021.org.
  3. Once open enrollment ends, you might not be able to purchase health insurance again until next year.