The Financial Information You Need to Apply for Health Care Coverage

By Features Consumer Reports

Is applying for health care coverage on your holiday to-do list this year? If so, having the right financial documents on hand will make the process easier.

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The state Health Insurance Marketplaces opened on Nov. 15 and stay open through Feb. 15, 2015. This will be your only chance to enroll in or change your plan until next year (with a few exceptions, such as if you lose other coverage midyear).

Your eligibility for financial help to pay for health insurance depends on your projected household income for 2015, which encompasses the same financial information you report on your annual tax return. (Here’s a cheat sheet we created that shows exactly what goes into the calculation.)

You'll need these documents and data to fill out your application.

  • Your most recent income tax return
  • Recent pay stubs
  • Social Security number and birth dates for everyone in your household who’s going to be buying insurance with you
  • Log in and password for your marketplace account, if you already have one
  • If you’re self-employed or didn’t file taxes last year, whatever information you have on your income and business expenses
  • Information on other income sources, such as alimony, capital gains, investments, pensions, rental properties, Social Security, and unemployment compensation
If you want your insurance to start on Jan. 1, you have to sign up for a plan by Dec. 15. You can sign up later, but if you don’t have insurance now, you’ll be waiting another month or two for it to start. And if you do have insurance now that you’d like to replace with something else, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled in your existing plan if you don't change to another one by Dec. 15.

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Here’s what else you need to know to get ready to apply.
 
–– Mandy Walker

Submit a question to Consumer Reports' health insurance expert. Be sure to include the state you live in so we can provide a more-detailed answer.

More health insurance information

To find out how to apply for, select, and use health insurance, including Medicare, visit our main health insurance page.

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