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Open enrollment begins Sunday; uninsured face higher penalties in 2016

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Open enrollment for health insurance on the federally facilitated marketplace will begin on Sunday.

There are several new changes with insurance carriers this year, said Kevin Walters, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Insurance and Commerce.

“The Department wants consumers to be aware of those changes and make informed choices when it comes to choosing insurance coverage,” Walters said in an email.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee and United Healthcare will provide coverage across the state. More information about the plans can be found here.

A new change includes Community Health Alliance  opting not to offer insurance coverage on the marketplace in 2016. Community Health Allieance consumers have until Dec. 31 to enroll in a new healthcare plan in order to have coverage effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Walters said consumers will face an increased tax penalty of $695 per person or 2.5 percent of their annual household income – whichever penalty is greater --  in 2016.

“If you like your physician, make sure he/she is included in the plan network. Also, consumers should review networks for their nearest and/or preferred hospitals,” Walters said. “Several plans provide tight networks and/or limited out-of-network benefits. To avoid unexpected and unpleasant balance bills, always see network providers.”

Open enrollment ends on Jan. 31. Coverage begins Jan. 1 for those who enroll early.

If you have questions the Department of Insurance and Commerce can be reached at 1-800-342-4029. 

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