MOUNT VERNON —The Health Insurance Marketplaces, called exchanges, were launched Oct. 1, coverage may begin as early as Jan. 1 and open enrollment ends March 31. For coverage to begin Jan. 1, you must apply by Dec. 15. If you are currently on Medicare, you will continue to be eligible for Medicare and do not have to apply through the exchanges.
To find out how the exchanges will work for individuals, the News consulted Donna Boggs, chartered benefit consultant with Madison-Collins-Stephens Agency, and Michael Percy, licensed insurance agent with Griffin Insurance. Percy has also completed the curriculum to assist individuals and businesses with the exchanges.
There are two exchanges from which to choose: State exchanges and the federal exchange. If you qualify for subsidies, then you must apply through the federal exchange at www.healthcare.gov. You will also need to visit the website to see if you do qualify for a subsidy. Percy said the application can be done with or without the assistance of an agent or “navigator,” but recommends that an individual consult an agent as he or she can better explain the options. Note: Not all licensed insurance agents are certified or chartered to sell health insurance through the exchanges.
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