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Open enrollment for health insurance goes from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15

2019 is coming to a close and that means paperwork is probably coming your way as open enrollment began November 1 and ends December 15.

Kendal Erickson from Sharp Insurance in Afton, Wyoming says people will want to be aware of the plans offered in the exchanges through Blue Cross Blue Shield. If anyone wants to make changes to their plans, now is the time to do so.

He says you do not necessarily have to go through the government to get your plan.

“Basically you’re going through the government if you want to get help paying for the premiums,” Erickson said. “If you just want one of their plans and want to pay full price for it, you can contact (Blue Cross Blue Shield) directly.”

If you want help with the premiums you will need to go through

The tax reform passed in the federal government did away with the individual mandate. That was a penalty in your income tax for not having health insurance. That is effective for this year.

“When you do your 2019 taxes there won’t be that penalty on there if you didn’t have a plan for this year,” Erickson said.

He also reminds people that if you go for one of the marketplaces insurance where it is subsidized you can only make a certain amount of income.

“So basically you estimate your income for the next year,” Erickson said. “Then when you do your taxes for that year they actually check it and say ‘you made more or less than that’. So if you make too much money or more money than you estimated they can penalize you that way too.”

So he says you will want to really be accurate when reporting your income so you can avoid that penalty fee.

For those people that are 65 and older the open enrollment for Medicare began October 15th and goes to December 7th. He says changes for that plan go into effect January 1st.

“For most people in the valley…it mainly just applies to their Part D Prescription Drug Plan,” Erickson said.

He says the commercials you may see on television can be a bit confusing because the advertisements discuss Medicare Advantage and that is not available in Star Valley. Erickson says in this area there is only one type of medical plan and that is Medicare Supplement or Medigap.

He also says if anyone has any questions they are welcome to contact Sharp Insurance and you can do so here.