Health Insurance Open Enrollment
kicks off November 1

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance starts
 Nov. 1, 2018 and runs through Dec. 15, 2018.
Consumers should be preparing now so they are ready to enroll when the time comes. The most important pieces of information to have ready are a good estimate of taxable income for 2019 and your tax household size. If you are self-employed or a sole proprietor, a tax professional or financial adviser can help you establish a good income estimate. Remember that for self-employed individuals it is your net-profit after expenses that counts as your income. Your ability to claim tax credits to lower premium costs is based on your taxable income and family size. Your family size is the number of people listed on your tax return. Please give us a call if you have any questions about how to prepare for open enrollment: 888-202-0212.
Affordable premiums again this year for most consumers
Health insurance premiums will again be very modest for most people in our region. You can use this fact sheet to see if you will qualify for the tax credit to lower your premium cost. The new plans and prices are expected to be available for viewing by the second week of October at Look for the button that says "Browse."
New Option for coverage this year, the Catastrophic Plan
Normally only available to people under 30, this year the Catastrophic Plan will be available to everyone in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties. Catastrophic plans have low premiums and are designed to protect against major health events. It is for the person who does not expect or want to use their insurance for anything other than a major health event. For example it limits total liability for an event like a heart attack to $7,900. Heart attacks regularly cost many tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Members pay the full cost of care up to $7,900 and then nothing afterwards. Preventive care such as health screenings and vaccines are included at no additional cost. 
People who do not qualify for tax credits to lower their premium costs may find this a good option to protect their financial well-being from the consequences of an unexpected major health problem. Enrolling in the Catastrophic Plan is also a good way to preserve your right to switch to a Silver or Gold plan later in the year if your circumstances warrant it.
Enrollment events and free in-person assistance
AHEC West provides free enrollment assistance throughout Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties. Go to our website: to schedule your appointment. There will be weekend and evening appointments available.
In addition to our regularly scheduled hours, we will also be hosting walk-in enrollment events at the beginning and the end of open enrollment.
Beat the Rush Nov. 9 - 11
Nov. 9: 4 pm to 9 pm at Garrett College, McHenry MD  (Events Center)
Nov. 10: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm at Washington County Library, 100 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown MD
Nov. 11: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm at AHEC West, 39 Baltimore Street, Cumberland MD
Last Chance Dec. 7 - 9
Dec. 7: 4 pm to 9 pm at Garrett College, McHenry MD  (Events Center)
Dec. 8: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm at Washington County Library, 100 S. Potomac St.,Hagerstown MD
Dec. 9: 10:30 am to 4:30 pm at AHEC West, 39 Baltimore Street, Cumberland MD
David Stewart
Program Director
Western Maryland Health Insurance Connector

AHEC  West
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