Everything You Need to Prepare to Buy Health Insurance

Everything You Need to Prepare to Buy Health Insurance

Everything You Need to Prepare to Buy Health Insurance


Don’t wait to start your planning. Insurance sign up begins soon. Gathering the papers you’ll need before the start of open enrollment will make it easier. You can avoid some last-minute worries if you break the task into easy-to-handle steps.

First, remember the deadlines. Open enrollment for 2020 begins Nov. 1, 2019, and ends Dec. 15, 2019. If you would like your health insurance to start Jan. 1, the cutoff date is Dec. 15.

Second, do your research. Learning basic health plan terms will help you understand your choices and costs. Online help is available to help you compare health plans.

Some General Information You’ll Need

  • Find information about your current health plan. That includes details on coverage, copays and deductible amounts. Don't think that your current plan will be the same for the next year. Things can change from year to year.
  • Make a list of your family’s doctors, so you can find out if they are in plans you may look at.
  • List all the drugs you and your family members take. See if they are covered on the new plans.
  • Get details on insurance that may be offered through your job.

Personal Information You May Need

  • Proof of the state you live in. A driver’s license, housing lease or utility bill will work.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship is required. So find your U.S. passport or Social Security card. That information will be needed for all family members.
  • Proof of immigration status if you are not a citizen of the U.S. A permanent resident card is one kind of record. A work authorization or an immigrant Visa may also be used. Check out healthcare.gov for a complete list.

Financial Information You’ll Need

  • Your earning records and records of earnings from all family members. Find pay stubs or W-2 forms. You will also need disability payment information or unemployment payment records.  Don’t forget records of earnings from Social Security, retirement or pension accounts. Get a copy of your most recent tax return.
  • Details for making your payment. You will pay the health insurance company. Often that is through a bank draft or credit card. So you will need those numbers.
  • You can use a broker or an agent to get your insurance. You can also purchase insurance directly from an insurance company or an online insurance seller. Or you can buy health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

But don’t wait. Planning will help you make a health insurance decision that works best for you and your family. 

Original publish date: October 20, 2016

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