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Annual enrollment for health insurance begins Nov. 15

Posted October 01, 2014 in Advice Column, Johnston

It’s October, and we will start hearing about the open enrollment period for individual health insurance for 2015 that is from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15, 2015. Everyone is eligible to look at different plans in the individual health market, even those who have employer coverage, but making the right decision still takes planning.  Some may continue to keep their plans if written before January 1, 2014. Those with ACA (Affordable Care Act) plans may keep their current plan or make a change.  Below are a few scenarios that will hopefully help start your thought process.

• I have a “grandfathered” (written and not changed since Sept. 22, 2010) or a “grandmothered” plan (written from Sept. 23, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2013). Insurance Commissioner Nick Gearhart decided earlier this year to allow these plans to stay in force until October 2016. These plans are mostly with Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Iowa, therefore, a mid-single digit increase in premium has been requested. If this is a manageable premium and the plan fits your needs, no action is needed.

• I have a new Affordable Care Act plan that I bought directly from a carrier. This means I did not receive a subsidy through, so I purchased a plan directly. You can keep it and not make any changes if the plan and rates are still within your means, but you can look at all ACA plans. Most carriers are requesting increases in the “teens” for this next year.

• I qualified for assistance through and got a plan through the Marketplace. This is not yet clearly defined. It is possible if you like your plan and your financials haven’t changed the plan might “roll” to 2015. In some cases, if it is known income will be different from 2014 to 2015 (i.e. retirement before age 65) it could be in your best interest to review your account at Also, if income were to increase, therefore reduce the subsidy, (i.e. new job or more hours) a definite review is in order so a tax liability is not incurred in 2016.

The good news is we have great carriers on and off the Marketplace in Iowa with many viable options. Let us know how we can assist you in making an informed choice on your healthcare.

Information provided by Janis Van Ahn, Health Insurance Advisor LLC, 5335 Merle Hay Road, Suite 2, Johnston, 515-225-9994,

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