Fall Deadlines For All Ages

Fall is full of deadlines.  Whether you are heading to college, in the thick of your career or getting ready to retire, there are important dates to know about for everything from health care to financial aid.

Heading to College

If you are a parent of a soon to be college student, or a soon to be college student, there are a number of important filings that need to be attended to.  Even if you are unsure that your family will qualify for financial aid, it is important to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible once the form becomes available.  The FAFSA is used to determine Federal student aid such as grants, loans and work study options. It is also used by many schools in determining non-need based merit aid. This year, the FAFSA became available on October 1st.  

Many US colleges also require families to complete the College Scholarship Service Profile (CSS Profile). Different schools have different deadlines for the CSS Profile, some fall as early as November 1.  

If you are applying to college with the hope of an early decision, you will need to get that application in between November 1 and November 15, depending upon the school and type of early action or decision you are seeking.

Health Care For All

Deadlines abound for Health Care Enrollment in multiple places. Medicare, ACA Marketplace and Employer Sponsored Plans all set their deadlines for enrollment and changes to enrollment during the fall each year.  

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace Open Enrollment has a very short window in 2017 if you want to enroll for next year.  Enrollment begins on November 1 and ends on December 15.  Also be aware that healthcare.gov will shut down between midnight and noon every Sunday during the enrollment period except for December 10.  

Medicare Open Enrollment runs between October 15 and December 7.  This is the time to make changes to your coverage, switch Advantage plans, change your Part D (Drug benefits) plan or enroll in part D if you have not already done so.

If you have a job that offers Employer Sponsored Benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, flexible spending accounts for health care and child care, the window of time to make changes to these benefits usually takes place during the fall months, depending upon your employer.  This is a good time to review your family's life and disability insurance needs, consider whether a health savings account and high deductible health plan is right for you and learn about all the benefits your employer offers.

Don't Forget About Taxes

If you are one of the almost 135 Million households that filed for an automatic extension to complete your 2017 Federal Income Tax Return, you have only until October 16 to get that return filed or face a penalty.  Returns on extension are normally due on October 15, but since that date falls on a Sunday, the IRS is granting an extra day this year.

Jennipher Lommen is a Certified Financial Planner TM and Enrolled Agent who offers comprehensive financial planning and tax advice to clients in Santa Cruz, CA and beyond.