Open enrollment for health insurance ends on March 31, 2014 for most Minnesotans, so it is important that everyone who is not eligible for Medicare signs up in the next couple weeks for health insurance, if they have not already done so. Except for those who experience an eligible life event after April 1, 2014; anyone who does not have health insurance at that time is subject to a tax penalty in 2015 when filing their 2014 tax return.
There are a number of different ways to sign up for qualified health insurance, none of which increase the cost of purchasing the insurance. Licensed professional health insurance agents are available in almost every community to assist with sign up. People may also sign up on the MNSURE website
There are also insurance agents who have received special training in how to assist people who are signing up for health insurance.
In Dodge County, these include agents at the Claremont Agency in Claremont; the Fahning and Associates Agency, the Farm Bureau Financial Services and the Kramer Insurance Agency in Dodge Center.
In Mower County, these include the Farm Bureau Financial Services in Brownsdale and Dexter.
In Byron, these include Insurance Brokers of Minnesota, Inc.
MNSURE certified staff will be available to assist with signing up people for health insurance at the Dodge Center Public Library, Thursday, March 27 from Noon to 7pm. Anyone interested in taking advantage of this service should bring social security numbers for all household members, details about household income expected in 2014, and info about other health insurance you already have. Paystubs and W-2 forms are also helpful.
The cost of purchasing health insurance is not effected by whether sign up is through a MNSURE staff member or a licensed insurance agent.
Monday, March 31, is the final deadline to make a plan selection and payment for coverage starting May 1, 2014. This is also the last day of open enrollment and the last day to enroll in health insurance inside or outside of MNsure before the next open enrollment period begins on November 15, 2014, without facing a tax penalty.
This deadline does not apply to Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare recipients or participants in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
All plans sold through MNsure cover important benefits such as preventive care, doctors' visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, ER services, maternity care and more. Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied, and there are no lifetime limits on coverage. Financial assistance is available to help pay monthly insurance premiums. A single individual earning up to $45,960/year, or a family of four earning up to $94,200/year could qualify.
When filing taxes in 2015, taxpayers will be required to show they have been insured throughout 2014 or they will be subject to a penalty on their federal income tax, so it is important to get signed up before the deadline.