Did you hear? Open enrollment has been extended through Jan. 15, 2023. Enroll or renew your health insurance for the upcoming calendar year before time runs out. 

Here’s what you need to know about the date extension: 

  • If you applied for coverage Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, your health coverage will be effective Jan. 1, 2023 
  • If you apply for health coverage Dec. 16 through Jan. 15, your health coverage will be effective Feb. 1, 2023 

Open enrollment is the only time you can purchase an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan for yourself or your family for the following year unless a qualifying life event occurs. Read this article to learn more about open enrollment or read this article to learn about qualifying life events. 

ACA plans are available to everyone regardless of health history and must cover the following essential health benefits, preventive care, pediatric dental and pediatric vision services to be compliant. Note: Pediatric dental and pediatric vision services are covered for members under the age of 19. 

Essential health benefits include:  

  • Ambulatory services (outpatient care without a hospital stay) 
  • Breastfeeding coverage 
  • Emergency services 
  • Hospitalization, surgery and overnight stays 
  • Laboratory services  
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, as well as behavioral health treatment, including counseling and psychotherapy  
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care Note: Adult dental and vision coverage aren’t considered essential health benefits.  
  • Pregnancy, maternity and newborn care both before and after birth 
  • Prescription drugs 
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management   
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skill 

Preventive services/routine health care include: 

  • Screenings 
  • Check-ups and counseling to prevent illness 
  • Disease or other health problems 
  • Note: ACA health plans must cover these services at no cost to you when an in-network doctor or health care provider is used.  

Pediatric dental services include:   

  • Preventive and diagnostic: Oral exams, cleanings, etc. 
  • Maintenance and simple restorative: Filings, extractions, etc. 
  • Complex restorative dentistry: Crowns, root canals, etc.  
  • Medically necessary orthodontic dentistry: Braces, orthodontic extractions, etc.  

 Pediatric vision services include: 

  • Vision exams 
  • Eyeglass frames/lenses or contacts 

For more information on benefits that health plans must offer in every ACA plan, visit Healthcare.gov/Coverage. 

Nicole Creamer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE) senior director of individual and Medicare sales, encourages individuals to seek expert help when purchasing health insurance.    

“The plan options are based on the needs of the individual,” said Creamer. “There are multiple factors to consider when choosing a plan, including premiums, provider networks, prescriptions and subsidy eligibility, to name a few. Sitting down with an ACA-certified specialist that can walk through the options and provide individuals the information they need to make an informed decision with their health care plan is the best option.” 

Nebraska HeartlandBlue is BCBSNE’s new 2023 ACA health care plan. Work with an agent to find the right plan for you and your family or visit NebraskaBlue.com/HeartlandBlue to learn more about BCBSNE’s ACA plan options.  

For more articles like this, visit Insurance 101.