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Focused on Our Members During Open Enrollment

BY JEFF SMITH – Now that we have entered the third open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we have a more complete picture of its impact.

In just two years, more Americans are insured today than ever before, which speaks to the success of the ACA in increasing access to care.

According to new data compiled by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, only 9 percent of Americans were uninsured in the first six months of 2015, compared to 14.6 in 2013. That is 17 million more people that were able to access care in 2015 that weren’t able to before the healthcare marketplace exchanges opened its doors in 2014.

Still, growing pains in the healthcare market remain as the industry adjusts and consumers navigate the changes. The good news is that Blue Shield of California is here to help.

For many, open enrollment already began. Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or renewing current coverage, signing up with an employer or purchasing through Covered California, Blue Shield is heavily focused on helping members understand the busy open enrollment season. Our employees are doing their best work to ensure that customers have a successful and consistent customer experience.

If you have coverage through your employer, they will let you know about the deadlines to sign up and help answer any questions. If you are purchasing individual coverage, open enrollment began on November 1, but you should also keep these dates in mind:

  • December 15, 2015– Last day to enroll for new coverage effective January 1, 2016. If you want to change your plan effective January 1, you must do so by this day. This is also the date by which you must update your financial information in order to receive the correct amount of assistance from the government when your 2016 coverage begins.

  • December 31, 2015– Coverage under 2015 health plans ends.

  • January 1, 2016– 2016 coverage begins.

  • January 15, 2016– Last day to enroll for new coverage that begins on February 1, 2016, or make changes to existing coverage to take effect on February 1.

  • January 31, 2016This is the last day to enroll in new coverage or change coverage for 2016.

If you have any questions about these dates, how to enroll in coverage or which plan is right for you and your family, please visit Blue Shield’s Find a Plan website or call (888) 626-6780.

Jeff Smith is vice president and general manager of individual and family plans at Blue Shield of California.