now-later320Affordable healthcare is at your fingertips, but time is running out! We are coming to the end of open enrollment on March 31.

March 31 signifies the end of open enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Whether you’re for or against the law, the deadline for getting covered is about two weeks away, so it’s time to sign up or get penalized. Under the Affordable Care Act, most people must be covered this year or face a penalty of $95 per person or 1% of your income, whichever is higher

After open enrollment ends, insurance carriers will be getting back to “business as usual” and resuming their normal operations. During the initial open enrollment period of the ACA, most carriers shifted all their resources over to assist with the on-exchange business. In turn, this created a lack of resources in the other areas of health insurance companies. The main area that was impacted was small group health plans. Here at Nefouse and Associates, we noticed premium notices and new cards not being sent out and hold times for group services sitting at unacceptable levels. Once April rolls around, we are hoping to see these levels go back to some type of normalcy.

If you have a small group health plan (under 50 employees) and need assistance, your best source is a broker. Your broker should have direct access to the insurance carriers and  be able to use this technology in your favor. Be cautious though, because the end of March will not be a good time to try and get things done. There will be a mad dash of people applying for health coverage through the marketplace which will put a strain on resources with the health carriers that are active in the federal or state marketplace.

After open enrollment ends, every small group should start considering their options. This should start no later than July of 2014 since we have already seen what kind of impact open enrollment has on the insurance industry. When it comes to small group health plans, we are seeing average rates increase at around 57%, so it’s time to start doing your research. Right now, employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees don’t face a penalty for not offering health coverage, but this will not always be the case. Stay tuned to our blog to find out more information on small group health insurance options, or contact us for assistance in finding a plan that’s right for you.

In the meantime, don’t procrastinate any longer, it’s time to sign up for health insurance! If you’re unsure of where to go or what to do, call us at (317) 803-4220!