Starting TODAY (November 1) and for the next six weeks, the website HealthCare.gov will be enrolling new and existing users into the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). While the GOP has worked to try and repeal and replace the health care bill throughout 2017, their efforts, for the most part, have failed.
Instead of killing the bill completely, the Trump administration has instead pushed to increase premiums on the public health care scheme (in some cases by over 60 percent!), and are limiting the enrollment period to six short weeks for most, down 50 percent from last year’s 12-week enrollment period.
For those who have already enrolled in Obamacare in the past, you won’t automatically be re-enrolled this year. This *massive* change means that you absolutely MUST enroll before the cutoff deadline if you need your coverage to continue. In previous years, your coverage would have simply rolled over into the new year, with a monthlong period to make changes to your plan.
If you don’t already have insurance through your employer, and are not on Medicaid or Medicare, you are eligible to enroll for Obamacare. You can apply online, over the telephone, in person, by mail, or, in some states, through a third party agent. If you choose to sign up through the website, you simply need to enter your personal info (or your family’s info), and confirm everything using the online forms.
It’s important to remember, however, that if you live in one of the states that manages its own care, you need to apply directly via the state’s health care website, and you may still have 12 weeks. Luckily, HealthCare.gov has you covered, with a complete list and where to apply and individual state deadlines.
But how do you decide what coverage is best for you? There are a few things to consider, including premium costs, what each plan covers, how much your copay will be (if anything), deductible costs, and what your coinsurance pay will be if you run out of coverage. For those not in the know, coinsurance is the cost you’ll pay out of pocket if you use up all your insurance before the year is over. You may also qualify for subsidies, so it’s important to figure that out when applying.
Even though nearly a quarter of all Americans believe that the ACA has already been repealed (at least in part), you need to remember that having insurance coverage is important for everyone. With a few exceptions, you’ll get dinged at tax time if you don’t have medical insurance, so don’t wait to apply or confirm your application before your deadline.
Have you enrolled in the Affordable Care Act in the past? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)