Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

If you have had unexpected changes in your health or the medical needs of your family this year, or anticipate changing needs next year, your current plan might not be the best fit anymore. Similarly, if you are someone who has never needed to purchase your own health plan before and do now, you may wonder where to begin.

Here to help us understand the options many of us have during the annual open enrollment period and the Medicare annual enrollment period is Kimberly Smith, Community Outreach manager for Health Alliance.

Q: Why is the open enrollment period important?
• During the open enrollment period, people who don’t get health insurance through an employer can enroll in an individual or family health plan, change to a different plan or renew their current plan from a private insurer like Health Alliance™ or from the public Marketplace
• If you have employer-based health insurance this open enrollment period does not apply to you

Q: When is the open enrollment period for 2022 health insurance coverage?
• The open enrollment period for 2023 individual or family (non-group) health plans began on November 1, 2022, and has been extended this year until January 15, 2023
• For coverage to be effective on January 1, 2023 participants must enroll by the original December 15, 2022 deadline
• Coverage will be effective February 1, 2023 for those enrolling after December 15 but by the January 15 extended deadline
• Once the OEP is over, a new health insurance plan can only be purchased if a person experiences a qualifying major life change

Q: Just to be clear, who is this OEP for?
Individuals meeting the following criteria can take advantage of the OEP for their personal or family health insurance needs:
• Not on Medicare
• Not covered at work
• Not covered by parents’ plan (through age 26)

Q. What should be considered when selecting a healthcare plan?

Factors to consider when selecting an individual healthcare plan include:

• What doctors you anticipate needing next year
• Which health plans include your choice for physicians and medical facilities

• How much you can afford to spend on healthcare expenses

• Based on your needs, consider your average monthly cost when including premiums, deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses

• What services, medical equipment or prescriptions you may need in 2023. Check to see that your specific prescriptions are covered and how they are covered

Q: Are individual health plans affordable?
• Health Alliance™ offers a host of affordable health plans that help you stay healthy and active plus our team helps determine if you may be eligible for cost-sharing assistance or premium tax credits to help lower your monthly premium

Q: Once people choose the plan that best meets their needs and their budget, what can they expect from Health Alliance?
• Help with managing chronic conditions
• Care coordination
• Access to Hally®, the mobile app to help you navigate your coverage anytime and receive helpful health and wellness tools, tips and tricks

Q: How do people get more information or sign-up during the Open Enrollment period?
Let our team help you find answers to even the simplest insurance question. Every question is important when it comes to choosing the best health plan for your needs.
• Call Health Alliance at (877) 686-1168
• Go to HealthAlliance.org
• Make an appointment to visit us at Health Alliance Connections, (at Carle at The Fields in southwest Champaign, across from the three-story administration building)
• Contact your local agent

Medicare Care annual enrollment period reminder:
Medicare AEP Intro: With under a month left to reevaluate your Medicare coverage and make changes or purchase new plans we are in the final stretch of the Medicare annual enrollment period. What do people need to know now?
• Medicare Advantage plans like the ones from Simplete meet a wide variety of budgets and clients’ needs, wants and extras
• Medicare Advantage plans often include additional coverage for routine vision, dental and hearing services. Simplete Medicare Advantage plans may also cover benefits like transportation to doctor visits, coverage for fitness activities and over-the-counter drugs
• Call us and we’ll walk you through cost-saving options to help you find a healthcare plan that will best meet your needs
Q: How do people get more information or sign-up before the December 7 Medicare Open Enrollment deadline?
• Call a Simplete representative at 1-877-634-3390
• Go to Simplete.org
• Make an appointment to visit us at Health Alliance Connections, (at Carle at The Fields in southwest Champaign, across from the three-story administration building)