Keep these health insurance open enrollment tips in mind:

This is a reminder to individuals renewing or buying health insurance for 2017 on the NY State of Health marketplace: If you want coverage by Jan. 1, 2017, you must renew your current plan or select a new plan by Dec. 15, 2016.

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If you are renewing your coverage: 

* Read your renewal notice from the NY State of Health marketplace.

* Carefully follow instructions within the notice. It may ask you to contact the marketplace directly or update your account on the New York State of Health website.

* Start your coverage and keep it active by paying the new premium amount due each month.

If you are buying coverage for the first time, or selecting a new plan: 

* Check to see if your doctors work with the plan. You typically pay less for services from in-network doctors.

* Determine if you can get financial help. Individuals who earn up to $47,520 a year or a family of four earning up to $97,200 a year may be eligible for financial assistance when purchasing a health insurance plan on the marketplace.

* See if you qualify for the Essential Plan, which is health insurance that costs $20 or less a month. Eligible individuals may include those who make up to $23,760 annually for a household of one or up to $48,600 for a household of four.

“We know that some people are wrestling with the decision to purchase health insurance for 2017, or pay the penalty for not having coverage,” said Richard Vienne, Univera Healthcare vice president and Chief Medical Officer. “We also know that some people will face with costly medical bills next year because things happen in life, and that’s when you realize the value of having health insurance.”

Open enrollment officially ends Jan. 31, 2017, but according to Vienne, it is better to enroll sooner, rather than later, so that coverage can begin as soon as possible in 2017.

“If you enroll after December 15, 2016, coverage won’t begin until February 1 or later,” said Vienne.

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