Making the Most of Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment

Contributed by: Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Nick Defenthaler

It’s that time of year again – open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA)!  This year, open enrollment for ACA health plans runs from November 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016.  It’s very important that you enroll for a plan during this time frame if you do not have coverage to avoid being uninsured.  If you’re thinking you’ll just “roll the dice” and go without coverage, think twice.  Number one, the risk of going without coverage is a big one – having a medical event without coverage can destroy you financially.  Number two, the penalty for not having insurance will increase once again for 2016.  New next year: You will now have to pay a penalty that is equivalent to 2.5% of your income or $695 per adult, whichever is greater.

Common ACA Mistake

A common misconception is that health plans offered through the ACA are government health plans like Medicare or Medicaid.  This is NOT the case! This misconception often times will cause clients to avoid these plans that could potentially benefit them very positively. is simply the website all of the ACA eligible plans are offered through.  Plan carriers include big names such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Priority Health, HAP, etc. all of which have their “sweet spot” pricing depending on the type of plan (platinum, gold, silver and bronze) that makes the most sense for your needs. 

These are health plans you could simply purchase on your own as an individual policy, however, by going through and utilizing the ACA, you could potentially be eligible for subsidies that could dramatically reduce your monthly premiums, potentially saving your family thousands of dollars. This link to shows those qualifying ranges.  Subsidies can also be very important for younger retirees that have not yet begun Medicare (under the age of 65).  We have worked with many clients in this age range and have done strategic planning with their income throughout the year to qualify them for lower premiums.  I encourage you to contact us if you’re considering enrolling in an ACA plan to see how we could potentially help on the financial side of things!

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ at Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Nick is a member of The Center’s financial planning department and also works closely with Center clients. In addition, Nick is a frequent contributor to the firm’s blogs.

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Nick Defenthaler and not necessarily those of Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete.

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