What are you doing Tuesday, December 15?

If you don’t have health insurance or haven’t renewed your Affordable Care Act policy, it’s a date you need to put on your calendar.

December 15 is the final day to renew a health insurance policy and have coverage on the first of the year.  If you don’t renew, your plan will expire like champagne bubbles on New Year’s Eve.

No health insurance? Enrolling by the 15th gets you covered on New Year’s Day, too!

Remember, there’s a federal tax penalty for not having health insurance that is taken out of your taxes.  The 2016 penalty is double what it was in 2015.

“There are a number of dates we have to get used to with health insurance enrollment,” Matt Leonard, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska director of sales said. “If you renew or purchase after January 1, your coverage will start February 1. If you wait until the January 31 deadline, your coverage starts March 1.”

Leonard suggests if you’re unsure of what to consider, find a trusted resource to help.

The majority of Blue Cross customers have taken advantage of the tax credits offered through the Affordable Care Act.  The average tax credit in Nebraska last year was $257 per month.




The percentage of the bill you pay after your deductible has been met.


A fixed amount you pay when you get a covered health service.

Tiered benefit plan

A health care plan featuring multiple levels of benefits based on the network status of a particular provider. 


The annual amount you pay for covered health services before your insurance begins to pay.

emergency care services

Any covered services received in a hospital emergency room setting.


Includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy

in-network provider

A provider contracted by your insurance company to accept an agreed upon payment for covered services. 

OUT-OF-network provider

A term for providers that aren’t contracting with your insurance company. (Your out-of-pocket costs will tend to be more expensive if you go to an out-of-network provider.)


Your expenses for medical care that aren’t reimbursed by insurance, including deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments.


If you can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, you must have a health coverage exemption or pay a tax penalty on your federal income tax return.


The amount you pay to your health insurance company each month. 

Preventive services

Health care services that focus on the prevention of disease and health maintenance.


Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured or have surgery. This includes physical, occupational and speech therapy.

special enrollment period

The time after the Open Enrollment Period when you can still purchase health insurance only if you have a qualifying life event (losing other health coverage, having a baby, getting married, moving).


A physician who has a majority of his or her practice in fields other than internal or general medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, pediatrics or family practice.