Everything You Need to Prepare to Buy Health Insurance

Everything You Need to Prepare to Buy Health Insurance

Don’t wait to start your planning for health insurance sign up. Finding the information you’ll need before the start of open enrollment will make the whole process simpler. If you break the task into easy-to-handle steps, it may even save you some last-minute worries.

First, keep the deadlines in mind. Open enrollment for 2020 starts Nov. 1, 2019, and ends Dec. 15, 2019. If you want your health insurance to start Jan. 1, the cut off is Dec. 15.

Second, do your research. Tips are available online to help you compare health plans. Learn basic health plan terms to help you grasp your choices and costs.

General Information You’ll Need

  • Pull together information about your current health plan. That involves everything from coverage to copay and deductible amounts. Those can change from year to year, so don’t think that your current plan will be the same for the next year.
  • Make a list of your family’s doctors, so you can find out if they are in plans you may look at.
  • Write down all the prescription drugs you and your family members take. See if they are covered.
  • Get details on insurance that may be offered through your job.

Personal Information You May Need

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship is required. So round up your Social Security card or U.S. passport. That information is also needed for all family members.
  • Proof of the state you live in. You’ll need a driver’s license, housing lease or utility bill.
  • Proof of immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen. A permanent resident card is one record. You can also use a work authorization or an immigrant Visa. See healthcare.gov for a full list.

Financial Information You’ll Need

  • Earning records from all family members. Find W-2 forms or pay stubs. You will also need unemployment or disability payments.  Don’t forget earnings records from Social Security, pension or retirement income. You’ll also need your most recent tax return.
  • Details for your payment method. You will make a payment to the health insurance company. Most often that is through a bank draft or credit card. You’ll need those numbers.

You can buy health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace. You can also purchase directly from an insurance company or an online insurance seller. You can also get help from an agent or broker, at no cost to you. 

But don’t wait. Planning will help you make a health insurance decision that works best for you and your family. 

Original publish date: October 20, 2016

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