Health insurance and Medicare open enrollment guidance

Published October 19, 2018

health insurance image 

Vice President, Employee Benefits

Medicare open enrollment is underway, and the individual health insurance market enrollment period is fast approaching. Unless you're fortunate to have employer-sponsored health insurance, you may be navigating the complicated choices for your health care coverage for 2019.

Our advice? Don’t go it alone! A licensed, professional, independent health insurance broker can be your best ally during open enrollment.

The annual Medicare open enrollment period is October 15-December 7. 

The individual health insurance market enrollment period is November 1-December 15.

If you've been without coverage during 2018, or if you have coverage but would like to change your plan for 2019, open enrollment is the time to review options and enroll in a plan for coverage that goes into effect January 1, 2019.

The most common questions we receive about health insurance enrollment have to do with circumstances that change during the year. 

  • Individuals who are still working after turning 65, for example, frequently ask what they should do if they plan to retire at some point in the next year.
  • Individuals enrolling in Medicare at 65 often ask about health insurance coverage for a younger spouse who is not yet eligible for Medicare.
  • Parents of young adults question whether their sons or daughters will be able to purchase individual insurance upon turning 26 or if they'll have to wait for the next open enrollment period. 

In addition, parents of young adults undergoing treatment may have concerns about how a pre-existing condition will affect their son or daughter when it's time to move from Mom's or Dad's group plan to individual insurance coverage.

You may have your own concerns about your current health insurance status or about changes you will need to make in the next year. During a Sylvia Group webinar on October 16, we tried to anticipate some of those concerns in our overview of Medicare and open enrollment.

WATCH THE WEBINAR

If you're Medicare-eligible and interested in doing your own research, the Sylvia Group Medicare webpage is a good source, as is Medicare website. Massachusetts residents under the age of 65 looking for information on individual and family health insurance can find it on the Massachusetts Health Connector website.

Whether you've done your own research or not, you're welcome to contact me for more information. My clients receive the informed, objective advice only a licensed, professional, independent health insurance broker can provide.
CONTACT JULIE JENNINGS


About Julia Jennings and Sylvia Group

Julie_Jennings_cropped.jpgWith more than 30 years’ experience as a health insurance professional, Julia Jennings is nationally recognized not only for her expertise but also for her service initiatives to improve the health insurance market. A Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) and Licensed Insurance Advisor (LIA) who has earned certifications in Long-Term Care (LTC), Consumer-Driven Health Care (CDHC) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Julie is a recipient of the National Association of Health Underwriters’ most prestigious honor, the Distinguished Service Award, for her lifetime commitment to her profession and her community.

Voted "Best Insurance Agency" in both years of the SouthCoast Media Best of the Best Awards program, Sylvia Group helps businesses and individuals protect their future by designing insurance, benefits and financial planning programs. We’re a locally owned agency known for our commitment to our clients and our community, as well for our industry expertise. Founded in New Bedford, MA, in 1950, headquartered in neighboring Dartmouth, and serving businesses and individuals throughout Massachusetts, Rhode Island and beyond, Sylvia Group is certified as a Woman Owned Business Enterprise with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office and has the distinction of being the first six-time recipient of the Five Star designation awarded by the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents (MAIA) for all-around agency excellence.

Upcoming Events

Seminar
Active-Shooter Seminar
Thursday, Jan. 31
8:30-10 a.m.
Sylvia Group
500 Faunce Corner Road Building 100, Suite 120 Dartmouth, MA 02747

More Information »

Sylvia Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter for news and updates about policies, enrollment changes and new laws that affect you.

Testimonials

  • “I come in contact with many insurance brokers in the course of my practice – even more so with the advent of the Affordable Care Act requirements. Some are ill-prepared or still in denial. Others call me from the car on the way to a client meeting asking for a summary of the ACA in ten minutes. On the flip side of this coin is the Sylvia Group agency. Their clients are very fortunate to have a broker who is knowledgeable about employee benefit matters. The fact that Sylvia Group invited me, an ERISA lawyer, to conduct a live client seminar on the new ACA employer information reporting requirements indicates to me that they are engaged in the process and they care about their clients.”

    – RICHARD A. SZCZEBAK, Esq., RAS Law, P.C.

  • “By giving, advocating and volunteering, Sylvia Group has proven they are dedicated to our community. Whether they are volunteering at one of our Day of Caring events or working with us to provide affordable health insurance and benefits to our employees, Sylvia Group does whatever they can do to make a difference for United Way of Greater New Bedford. The team at Sylvia Group is a trusted group of dedicated professionals, and we thoroughly enjoy working with them.”

    – MICHELLE N. HANTMAN, President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Bedford

  • “When I needed assistance with my business insurance program, Jill White immediately responded – and, even more important, she listened. She understood the challenges I had with my former agent, and she and the Sylvia Group team designed a program specific to my restaurant’s needs. I’m confident that with Jill’s expertise and personal attention, Fay’s is in good hands. That gives me the peace of mind to focus on what my family and I do best: serve delicious food and provide great customer service while running a successful business.”

    – EVELYN BETTENCOURT, Owner, Fay's Restaurant and Knotty Pine Fine New England Catering

  • “Sylvia Group is very resonsive to our ever-changing needs. Jill White provided us with wonderful support when we moved our child-care program location. She ensured that our coverage was seamless and that it met all of our program, licensing and funding needs. Sylvia Group always assists us immediately when we have questions and/or requests. We knw we are in good hands and that they have the best interest of our YWCA participants in mind. It's a pleasure to work with the staff of Sylvia Group; they are truly customer-focused.”

    – GAIL FORTES, Executive Director, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts

  • “Thanks to John Beauregard and the professionals at Sylvia Group, our MassMEDIC membership has paid immediate dividends. Through the BIO Business Solutions® program, Primo Medical received a significant premium reduction on our Professional Liability policy. In addition, utilizing Chubb as our insurance provider and Sylvia Group as our broker, we’re confident that we have business partners who truly understand our insurance needs, provide outstanding loss control services and continue to work with us to lower our total cost of risk.”

    – CHRISTOPHER LAPLANTE, Chief Financial Officer, Primo Medical Group

  • "Getting the right insurance to guard against risks is absolutely critical for nonprofits, as well as other businesses; dealing with a costly claim could force a nonprofit to shut down permanently. Going with the Sylvia Group, we made the right decision and have never looked back. They have gotten to know our mix of services, evaluated our insurance needs and designed an insurance program around our specific insurance coverage needs — allowing us, on a tight budget, to purchase the right amount and type of insurance at the best value. Sylvia Group staff have built strong, personalized helping relationships with our staff. I can sleep at night knowing they make sure that our insurance policies are adequate to cover our risk exposures. I have recommended, without hesitation, the Sylvia Group to my colleagues working in both the nonprofit and for-profit arenas."

    - MARIA A. ROSARIO, Executive Director, NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc.

  • “Sylvia Group is an attentive, professional and knowledgeable insurance agency. They are familiar with the ever-changing rules and regulations when it comes to independent, nonprofit schools., and John Beauregard always goes above and beyond for Friends Academy. Whether it is something small, like registering a new school vehicle, or something bigger, like filing a claim after our greenhouse was destroyed by a hurricane, he treats every question and every claim with utmost importance. Sylvia Group is invested in our program as well; John sponsors and participates in our yearly golf tournament. Sylvia Group is an exceptional insurance company that I would recommend to all my cohorts.”

    – KATHERINE FURTADO, Chief Financial Officer, Friends Academy

  • “The Sylvia Group team provides a multitude of services in all aspects of employee benefits. The team's dedication to their clientele is apparent through their willingness to provide trainings in your office, at their business and through valuable webinar resources. They are readily available to answer questions and help with any issues that may arise. CMHS, Inc. appreciates the relationship that we have enjoyed with the Sylvia Group throughout the years.”

    – JOHN WINTERHALTER, President, Comprehensive Mental Health Systems, Inc.

  • “I want to thank you for this incredible resource, ThinkHR. We will be accessing it frequently and appreciate Sylvia Group making this available to Advanced Eye Centers.”

    - PAUL C. ABRANTES, Executive Director, Advanced Eye Centers

  • “I love your staff. In the first three or four weeks after we moved over to Sylvia Group for our insurance, I have had more communication and attention from them than I had in the seven or eight years we were with our former agency! You have a great team.”

    – PAT CASSAN, Ocean Explorium

  • “I just wanted to take the time to recognize what a remarkable job Danielle Andre is doing. I cannot thank her enough for her time, her kindness and her willingness to make sure I’m comfortable with all the necessary changes that occurred from an insurance standpoint. As a whole, every Sylvia Group staff member has been friendly and knowledgeable, but Danielle has certainly gone above and beyond for me.”

    – SHANNON S., Personal Insurance client

  • “I so appreciate Julie Jennings' help with Medicare planning. It is a relief to be able to consult with a knowledgeable professional on insurance issues. I have no idea how people do this without such help.”

    – CHRIS BLACK, Personal Insurance client

  • “Working with Sylvia Group over recent years has taken our insurance issues from 'groans and moans' to 'no problem.' Rose Lopes, our Account Manager, is one of the most responsive people I have ever worked with. She responds immediately to questions or special requests. It is such a pleasure to work with Rose, who does whatever it takes to find a solution to our needs. We are very pleased… She always has our interests in mind.”

    – LYNNE FOLEY, Director of Human Resources, Five Star Companies, Inc.

  • "Sylvia Group is by far the best insurance agency I have ever dealt with, both personally and in my business. They provide customer support that is not found in other agencies. For example, they take a personal interest in their clients, calls are always taken or returned immediately, and during reviews suggestions are made to offer the most cost effective and comprehensive coverage. When claims occur, they have always been there to facilitate the process. It has truly been a pleasure to have them represent me in my insurance needs."

    - WILLIAM N. WHELAN, Chairman, Whelan Associates LLC