14:15 PM

Don’t let open enrollment (and the record savings) pass you by



If you need coverage in 2022, enrollment ends on January 31. Here are six things to help you make the best ACA coverage decisions.

To make health insurance more affordable in 2022, New Jersey and the federal government are offering more financial assistance than ever. But you must meet the open enrollment deadlines to qualify – and those deadlines are approaching fast.

If you don’t have health insurance through an employer or Medicare/Medicaid and buy your own coverage through the individual market, you must sign up by January 31 for Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare” coverage starting February 1. (To have coverage starting on January 1, you must have enrolled by December 31, 2021.)

Aside from additional financial help with monthly premiums, what else is in store for ACA health insurance consumers in 2022? Here are six things to know about finding a health plan that works for your health and budget.

1. New year, low costs

You have many options for coverage when choosing a plan on the individual market. If you’re happy with your current plan, and it’s still offered, re-enrolling should be simple. But, most consumers use open enrollment as an opportunity to consider which health plan option is best suited to their health and financial needs.

Horizon continues to offer competitive pricing and value, particularly with its Silver tier plans. Nearly three-quarters of all consumers in the individual market have a Silver plan. For 2022, Horizon’s OMNIA Silver Value plan is among the lowest priced in its metallic class, and Horizon’s new Silver Value Access Plan has the lowest premium of all ACA plans in its four-county service area, featuring a portion of the Horizon network that includes Atlantic Health System and Hunterdon Healthcare for residents of Hunterdon, Morris, Sussex and Warren counties.

2. About 9 out of 10 residents now qualify for financial help

More consumers who purchase insurance through the individual market qualify for financial help than ever before. That’s due primarily to the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), which significantly increased the amount of financial help available in 2022 to consumers.

Under changes from the ARP, no one pays more than 8.5 percent of their income for health insurance in the individual market (as measured against the benchmark plan). These changes, coupled with a New Jersey law enacted by Governor Phil Murphy, boost state subsidies for eligible consumers and enable higher-income consumers to qualify for assistance for the first time. Under ARP, individuals earning $77,280 and a family of four with income up to $159,000 are now eligible for financial help.

3. Find out the price of your plan in under two minutes

If you’re one of the 90 percent of people in the exchange who qualify for financial assistance, you’ll still want to know what you’ll actually pay. Now you can, in just a matter of minutes.

To get an estimate, including any available financial assistance, consumers can enter a few pieces of information into Horizon’s online shopping site, which also offers comprehensive information about the plan options offered by Horizon, the state’s largest health insurer.

Since the introduction of Affordable Care Act plans in 2014, more New Jerseyans have chosen a plan from Horizon BCBSNJ than from any other health insurer.

4. Coverage (still) isn't optional

Under New Jersey’s “individual mandate” in place since 2018, almost every state resident must have health insurance. So, if you don’t get coverage from your employer or qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, you need to select a health plan during open enrollment. If you don’t, you will pay a penalty when you pay your state taxes.

5. Protect your whole health

For many NJ consumers, open enrollment is a time to secure coverage that meets needs not included in a traditional health plan like dental or vision coverage. These options do not appear on the federal marketplace, but insurers who offer these types of coverage typically include them on their own websites.

For example, Horizon BCBSNJ’s website lets consumers review the low-cost dental and vision plans it offers to individuals and gives them the option of conveniently bundling either or both with a health plan. Consumers can also choose these dental or vision plans even if they select a different company for their base health plan.

If you have questions about these plans, we offer personalized virtual or in-person appointments with plan experts who can set up a plan review or answer your questions. You can learn about the enrollment process, what new benefits and services are available for 2022, and how the state subsidy program can mean an even lower monthly premium.

Just visit http://www.horizonblue.com/MeetOnline or call 1-800-224-1234. As always, Horizon plan experts will be available at:

  • Horizon Connect locations in Moorestown and Union City
  • Hola Doctor offices in Perth Amboy and Jersey City
  • Sanitas Medical Centers in Union City, Belleville and Blue to You kiosks at the Bergen Town Center (Paramus), and Willowbrook Mall, (Wayne).

6. It’s now or never (almost)

Open enrollment, ending on January 31 for February 1 coverage, is the only time during the year you can sign up for an individual market plan. But, there are two significant exceptions:

  • If you have what’s called a qualifying life event – such as losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child – you have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan. If you miss that window, you have to wait until the next open enrollment period to apply. That means that you will both pay a penalty to the State and also risk having to pay for any health care you might need – including typically expensive emergency room visits – on your own.
  • You are or become eligible for Medicaid or the State’s NJ FamilyCare program, which accepts enrollment year-round.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to sign up for coverage. Get started here.