Finding the right health plan during open enrollment

With the open enrollment period now underway, Fidelis Care urges Queens residents who haven’t already done so to find a health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

More than 359,000 Queens residents currently do not have a health plan, according to Fidelis, and lacking coverage will prove particularly costly this year. Those who elect not to have health insurance before the enrollment period expires will be assessed a penalty equal to 2.5 percent of their income.

“The time is now to try and get your family covered,” said Lori Vavrinec, Fidelis Care’s marketing director.

Medicare and Medicaid recipients have until Dec. 7 to purchase supplemental health insurance coverage, while everyone else has until Jan. 31, 2016 to obtain a health care plan.

This year’s open enrollment features an “essential plan” affordable to most Queens residents, according to Vavrinec. The essential plan provides coverage for the basics—including doctor’s visits, prescription medication and hospitalization—for a minimal co-pay and without a costly deductible.

A family of four with an income below $48,500 or a single person making below $23,540 can qualify for essential plan coverage. Vavrinec suggests residents visit the New York State of Health Marketplace, update their personal income information and see what plans are available to them.

Fidelis Care, meanwhile, has a wide variety of health insurance options affordable for everyone, she noted. Residents can receive subsidies based on their income to help them purchase health insurance.

“We really have a plan now for everybody,” Vavrinec said. “The difference in plans is going to be based on the assistance you get to afford it. … People on a lower income scale will qualify for more subsidies, but even if you’re making 400 percent above the federal poverty level—which is a typical income for a family of four—you can still buy a plan at substantially lower rates.”

Fidelis Care started in Queens and is now available across New York State. It has three convenient offices in Queens: its Rego Park headquarters and satellite offices in Ridgewood and Jamaica. Fidelis representatives in Queens speak 26 different languages and make themselves available either in the office, on the phone or can make home visits to help residents obtain health insurance.

“Anybody can come into our office and get a representative that can take the time with them, speak to them in their language and understand the options available to them,” Vavrinec said. “The way we approach this business is very different and community-focused. We go out to where the membership is.”

To learn more about Fidelis Care options, call 1-888-FIDELIS or visit www.fideliscare.org.

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