Health blog

ACA Open Enrollment Is Happening Now

The 2018 enrollment period is November 1st-December 15th

Better wants to make sure that you have all the information you need to sign up for health insurance in 2018. Choosing your health insurance plan can be daunting. If you have any questions about open enrollment, email us at support@getbetter.co. We’re here to help.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is the set time period when you can sign up for health insurance guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act. If you are not insured through your employer, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan, you are qualified to apply for coverage and cannot be refused.

The Affordable Care Act guarantees–

1) All ACA policies cover essential health benefits including emergency care, hospitalization, and mental health care

2) No one can be denied due to pre-existing conditions

3) Older enrollees will pay no more than three times the premium for younger enrollees

If you don’t have an employer-based health insurance policy, the Affordable Care Act offers the best opportunity to access affordable healthcare. Federal subsidies mean cheaper healthcare for lower-income Americans when they purchase policies for 2018. Even for higher earners, the ACA provides the best chance of affordable healthcare for Americans. It also protects everyone against denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

Federal law requires you to have health insurance coverage (through the ACA, Medicare, or other job-based insurance — here is the list of what qualifies as insurance). If you choose to be uninsured you will be subject to a fine, levied on your Federal taxes, called the individual mandate — 2.5 percent of household income or the cost of a bronze plan, whichever is higher.

2018 Enrollment Period

The official 2018 enrollment period is November 1st-December 15th. All plans will take effect on January 1, 2018. Act now! Make sure you don’t miss the December 15th deadline. You have much less time to choose a plan because Open Enrollment is 50% shorter than last year.

Missing the deadline means you will lose your only opportunity to buy healthcare on the exchange. The only exceptions to this deadline are through Special Enrollment for individuals who experience a change in circumstances: divorce, job loss, or other qualifying life event.

Extended Enrollment

Some Americans have more time to sign up! These states have chosen to extend the enrollment period:

Victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria will have two extra weeks with enrollment closing on December 31.

Enrollment periods vary for non-exchange plans

You can enroll at any time for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Medicare has an enrollment period that ends on December 7th.

Job-based plans often have different enrollment periods. To learn more, you should check with your employer.

Where to find the policy that works for you

You should take time to research the various types of health insurance policies. PPO plans offer policy holders the flexibility to receive treatment from healthcare providers outside their network and will often pay back a portion of your out-of-network costs. You can find out more about PPOs, HMOs, and other types of policies here.

How to purchase a policy:

State Insurance Marketplace: The most common option is from your state’s health insurance marketplace. You can find yours at Healthcare.gov or the Spanish language equivalent, CuidadoDeSalud.gov.

The advantage of shopping on Healthcare.gov is that it is the only place you can apply tax credits to lower your premium. 83 percent of market place consumers were able to do this in 2017.

Note: These sites are unavailable on Sundays from 12am-12pm during the entire enrollment period due to maintenance.

Non-Marketplace Policies: If you are unlikely to qualify for a tax credit insurance companies offer more plan options outside the marketplace exchanges. Online tools like Stride Health or Joany make it simple to shop for plans and request quotes. You can also try a traditional health insurance agent or broker. You can find an agent via the National Association of Health Underwriters.

How to sign up

Fortunately, the sign up process is relatively simple. You will want to gather some information about yourself and your family before you begin. This checklist from Healthcare.gov will help you get started.

Help is out there

This FAQ from the Kaiser Family Foundation answers questions about the ACA and Enrollment.

You can search for local help on Get America Covered, a site created by two former HHS officials.

You can also find advice and resources at Obamafacts.

We are always happy to answer any questions you may have about the process. When you have health insurance, we’re here to help with your claims.
Get in touch with us at
support@getbetter.co


ACA Open Enrollment Is Happening Now was originally published in Better Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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