Get Ready for Health Care Reform Open Enrollment
It's a new day for health insurance. Enrollment forms have changed. You’ll never have to dig up old medical records or provide a detailed medical history to apply. Pre-existing conditions are no longer an issue. You cannot be declined coverage because of your health. Health care reform has made all this possible.
Federal financial assistance for medical insurance costs
You might even qualify for federal financial assistance to help pay for the cost of your health insurance purchased through the Marketplace—another benefit of health care reform. Two types of government assistance are available, depending on your income level: tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.
Use our calculator to see if you might qualify for federal financial assistance.
Essential health benefits
Remember, everyone will be guaranteed essential health benefits in every individual health insurance plan, including cancer screenings, tobacco counseling, mental health services, urgent care coverage, and much more.
Sure, Cigna customers have long had many of these benefits, but when health care reform takes effect, everyone will have these benefits through their individual insurance plans.
Bottom line: You must have health insurance, or you may face a tax penalty. But you have lots of options in choosing your coverage. You can decide what’s best for you and your family.
Keep track of these enrollment dates
During open enrollment, everyone is eligible to enroll in a plan through the Marketplace—or through health insurance companies like Cigna.
- Open enrollment is October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 for the 2014 plan year.
- In future years, open enrollment will be October 15 to December 7.
Your enrollment options
- Check out all of Cigna’s new plans and enroll on Cigna.com or through your state's Health Insurance Marketplace. It’s a new online shopping option for health insurance where you can compare plans from Cigna and other carriers and decide which is best for you.
- If you think you qualify for federal financial assistance—and many Americans will—Cigna can explain your plan options. Just call 1.866.438.2446, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday, to speak to a licensed Cigna agent.
If you're currently a Cigna customer:
- If you live in CA, CO, FL, TN, or TX, and are interested in enrolling in a new plan, your Cigna coverage will change. New plans have designated service areas, a narrower provider network, and changes to our approved drug lists (called a "formulary"). Also, depending on where you live, you may no longer be able to select Cigna as your carrier. In that case, Cigna will contact you to discuss other options. You can also contact your licensed Cigna rep, your broker, or call Cigna customer service.
If you’re relocating, make sure you’re covered. When you move from one state to another, you can keep your current plan unless you move to certain areas within CA, CO, FL, TN and TX. If you lose your existing coverage because you move to one of these areas, you can choose a new plan, even if it’s not the time for annual enrollment.
Review the levels of coverage
On the Marketplace website, you’ll see five levels of coverage: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Catastrophic plans are also available, but they do not meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act and are available only to those granted hardship exemptions and to those under age 30. Each level offers slightly different coverage.
A basic plan (like Bronze) has higher out-of-pocket costs, but has a lower monthly premium.
A more comprehensive plan (like Gold) covers more, but has a higher monthly premium. If your family expects to have high medical expenses, this might be the plan for you.
In choosing a plan, keep these factors in mind:
- Does someone in your family need prescription drugs frequently? If so, are they covered?
- Is someone in your family expecting to have surgery during the next year?
- Do you expect to have multiple doctor visits during the next year?
- Are your doctors in the plan’s network?
- Does your family need dental insurance?
- If your family will have a lot of medical expenses, you may want to consider a low deductible plan.
- If your family is healthy and you expect few doctor visits, then a high deductible plan will lower your monthly premium.
- If you have a healthy family and are looking for tax advantages, there will be options for that, too.
Our Plan E-Valuator tool can help guide you through these and other questions.
Completing the enrollment form
With the new enrollment form, you won’t need medical records. You’ll just provide a few details about yourself and your family:
- Names, dates of birth, marital status, and social security number for all family members.
- Mailing address, billing address, county, phone numbers, email address, the selected primary care physician for each member.
Also, provide a paper check (for paper applications), bank account information for direct deposit or electronic funds transfer (EFT), or credit card (Visa/MasterCard only for online applications). And, decide how you want to handle future payments.
Making changes to your plan outside of open enrollment
You can change your plan within 60 days of a qualifying event such as:
- Lost coverage at work (or other) health coverage.
- Gained or became a dependent through marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption.
- Insurance company made a major mistake in your insurance contract.
- Eligibility for financial assistance has changed.
- You moved and need to pick another plan based on the coverage area.
If you have questions about open enrollment—or about these special qualifying events—just call Cigna at 1.866.438.2446, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday, to speak to a licensed Cigna agent.
Your enrollment checklist
- Keep track of open enrollment dates: October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 for the 2014 plan year.
- Keep track of qualifying events that allow you to change your enrollment information and selected plan (60 days after a birth, marriage, adoption, relocation, etc.)
- Compare plans based on your family’s medical needs for the upcoming year.
- Have social security numbers and birth dates for each family member.
- Have a paper check, bank account information, or credit card for first payment. Decide on payment method for ongoing payments.
- Organize tax records, job and income information to apply for federal financial assistance on the Health Insurance Marketplace. (The Cigna website will not require this information to enroll in a plan. In order to receive federal financial assistance, you will need to apply on the Health Insurance Marketplace)
- Save your online forms! When completing the online financial assistance form, you can save your application and return later to finish. “Save as you go” prevents having to re-enter the information.
If you’re confused or need help, just call 1.866.438.2446, 8:00 am to 10:00 pm (ET), Monday through Friday. A licensed Cigna agent—or your insurance broker—can provide helpful information so you can decide which plan works best for you. We can guide you toward federal financial assistance if you qualify.
We are focused on our customers and their individual needs. We're here to help—no matter what path you take towards getting the right health care policy.
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