Open enrollment for 2015 federal health benefits begins in just a couple of short weeks, and millions of Americans will be changing or adding health insurance for themselves and their families. Most health insurance plans expire at the end of the calendar year. If you’ve enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan, you will need to renew your current plan or choose a new one in order to continue your coverage. If you have health benefits through your workplace, open enrollment often runs concurrently or around the same time of year. Check with your provider to learn the specific dates. Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, those who don’t have health coverage during 2015 will have to pay a penalty of 2% of your income, or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, whichever is more. Enrollment in any Marketplace insurance outside of Open Enrollment is available only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event, such as marriage, birth, or loss of coverage. Individuals who qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can enroll anytime.
Open Enrollment season is a very important time as you’re making decisions regarding your health for the entire next year. Under the ACA, dental coverage for children is considered an “essential health benefit,” meaning if you’re getting coverage for someone 18 or younger, dental insurance must be offered, either as part of a health plan or as a stand-alone plan. While it must be offered to you, you are not required to purchase it. The same does not apply to adults. Insurers don’t even have to offer it to adults. But just because you are not required to purchase dental insurance doesn’t mean you should view it as optional. Oral health is a crucial component in your overall wellness and standard, preventive care should be regarded with as much importance as regular check-ups with your family doctor.
Having dental insurance encourages individuals to visit their dentist regularly for professional cleanings and exams. Because many oral diseases are prevented through proper oral hygiene and early detection is critical in the effectiveness of treatment, visiting the dentist regularly is essential. It has also been proven that oral health is closely connected to a number of other chronic health issues, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have shown that people with dental benefits are almost 50% more likely to visit the dentist every six months, according to a recent GlobeNewswire article. If you don’t currently have dental insurance, your chance is quickly approaching. Open Enrollment is from November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015. We implore you to consider adding or renewing dental coverage for you and your loved ones.