Monday, November 3, 2014

Get answers as enrollment time nears

How much will you pay at tax time if you still don't have health insurance?  How can you minimize hassles when the Affordable Care Act exchange opens for 2015 enrollment on Nov. 15?  Is there anything you need to do if you got insurance on the exchange this year?

"The Insider's Guide to Obamacare's Open Enrollment,"  a 38-page free e-book produced by,  provides some of the clearest answers I've seen to these and other questions.  To get a copy,  go to this link and provide your email address  (you're signing up for a newsletter,  but you can unsubscribe if you're not interested).

Enrollment billboard on Wilkinson Boulevard

A couple of crucial points:  If you want your 2015 insurance to be in effect on Jan. 1,  you have a short window  --  Nov. 15 to Dec. 15  --  to shop on  And if you're among more than 357,000 North Carolinians who bought 2014 plans on the exchange,  there are good reasons to check whether your plan is still the best deal,  rather than letting this year's plan automatically renew.

The guide predicts the website will work better than it did last year  --  and even explained why I've had so little luck getting any insurance folks to talk to me about the testing:  "Insurers (who have tested the 2015 site) are bound by a confidentiality clause that prohibits them from discussing the results of their testing with the media."

But with a three-month window this year,  compared with six last year,  the authors still suggest starting early and doing groundwork in advance.  For those who are so inclined,  you can call 1-855-733-3711 now to make a post-Nov. 15 appointment for in-person assistance in North Carolina.

Get Covered Mecklenburg plans a big opening day enrollment and information event at the Children and Family Services Center,  601 E. Fifth St.  It will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 15.  If you plan to apply,  bring your Social Security number,  date of birth,  employer information,  proof of household income and policy numbers for any existing coverage.