How to Enroll
The health care exchange (healthcare.gov) is where you go to find and buy the insurance plan that best meets the needs of you and your family. If you don’t have access to the internet, don’t worry! The Marketplace has a call center (1800-318-2596; TTY1-855-889-4325) where service representatives can help you start or finish an application or answer your questions. You can also get help in your community. Have someone help you enter your city or ZIP code, then you can find a local person help you apply for your insurance plan.
On November 1st, former President Obama took to Twitter to remind consumers to shop for a health insurance plan. Despite the ACA being under attack by the Trump administration, it is still working and working well. In fact, sign ups for 2017 were more than twice as high as those for 2016. According to CNBC, more than 200,000 people signed up for coverage on the first day, compared to 100,000 for the first day in 2016. This is actually pretty good news for the health.gov website—in spite of advertising funds being slashed, people are still aware of the need to buy health coverage.
Women Won’t be Charged More for Health Care. IF you Act Now.
Women can still buy an affordable plan. The Affordable Care Act ensures affordable care for all. This means that insurance providers can’t charge women more, just because of their gender. Pre-ACA, this disparity in monthly premiums was common.
Nobody knows what will happen to the ACA within the next few years. Despite the Trump administration’s best efforts, the Republican-led Congress has turned down bill after bill that would have decimated health coverage, offering much less to consumers, who would have had to pay much more.
Those With Chronic Illnesses Can Still Find Insurance
Those with chronic conditions (pre-existing conditions, in insurance parlance) can buy insurance, and not fear that they will be tossed off their plans if they experience a worsening of their conditions.
Again, before the ACA was signed into law by President Obama, this was common, leading to families falling behind on bills, losing their homes or even having to declare bankruptcy. Now, this is against the law as it is currently written, allowing many people with Parkinson’s, asthma, diabetes or MS to breath a loud sigh of relief.
Getting Care Now May Mean Being Protected in the Future
Coming back to the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to kill Obamacare, people who have already purchased health insurance, as well as those just buying for the first time this year, are protected.
That doesn’t mean this will always be the case. Republicans in D.C. have vowed to pick up the repeal (this may not include “replace”) effort in the future. Thankfully, even though the ACA was universally hated, people are realizing that, hey, this is actually kind of a good plan. Meaning, Congresspeople are learning that their constituents don’t want to lose their coverage.
Take Advantage of Side-by-Side Plan Comparisons
The health care exchange enables applicants to look at insurance plans side-by-side so they can make the best choice for their individual circumstances. Plans are offered in four tiers (platinum, gold, silver and bronze). Each tier has varying premiums, co-pays and even co-insurance offerings, so research them carefully.
While premium increases for 2018 look like they’ll be much higher, looks can be deceiving. The Congressional Budget Office forecast increases of 15 to 20 percent, but this doesn’t factor in premium tax credits. These will be increasing right along with the cost of a silver plan.
Who's In - And Who's Out.
If you previously had coverage under Humana, Aetna or Anthem (which is Blue Cross Blue Shield in 14 states), you will have to find a different provider. These companies have dropped out of the Exchange.
How about this? In 2018, gold plans will cost less than silver plans. This isn’t fool’s gold, either.
Check Your Plan Annually
This is good advice from year to year. You may not want your plan to renew automatically, especially if your premium or other costs may be changing. That’s why it’s a great idea to check your plan’s numbers during each enrollment period.
Again, do that side-by-side comparison and choose a new plan if your current plan is changing in any big ways. You’ll have to do this if you’re a customer whose insurance company is dropping out of the exchanges (if you don’t, you may get enrolled into a plan that has similar numbers and benefits.) If you don’t want that, get online!
Why Obamacare (ACA) May Still Be A Best Option
You may be thinking you can shop around off the exchange marketplace. While off-marketplace offerings have to carry the same 10 essential health benefits, you may not get a subsidy if you choose one.
That said, if you choose a marketplace plan and you don’t yet qualify for a subsidy because of your income, this could change, making you eligible later in the year. If you buy a plan off the exchange, you won’t qualify for subsidies at all.
Despite all the changes and uncertainty swirling around the ACA and marketplace, it’s still a great bargain. Take advantage of the online exchange, compare plans and choose what’s best for your situation.
When Mama or Daddy
Can No Longer Live Alone.
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Don't let the Trumpsters Fool You. OBAMACARE is still alive.
BUT Open Enrollment ends
December 15th for 2017!
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