If you haven’t applied for insurance on HealthCare.gov before, here’s what you need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange”).
1. 2018 Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017. Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2018. After December 15, you can enroll in 2018 health insurance only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
2. The Health Insurance Marketplace is for people who don’t have health coverage. If you don’t have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.
If you have jobbased insurance: You can buy a plan through the Marketplace, but you’ll pay full price unless your employer’s insurance doesn’t meet certain standards. Most job-based plans do meet the standards.
If you have Medicare: You can’t switch to Marketplace insurance, supplement your coverage with a Marketplace plan, or buy a Marketplace dental plan.
3. What you pay for insurance depends on your income. Your savings depend on your expected household income for the year. You may qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers your monthly insurance bill, and for extra savings on out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments.
The plans are offered by private insurance companies with a range of prices and features. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide free or lowcost coverage to millions of people and families with limited income, disabilities, and some other situations. Many states are expanding Medicaid to cover all households below certain incomes.See if your state is expanding and if your income is in range to qualify.
Your children may qualify for CHIP even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.
4. You can apply for coverage 4 ways. Starting November 1, you can apply any way that works for you: Online, By phone, With in-person help or With a paper application
5. Hurricane victims in designated areas can enroll until December 31.
In late September, HHS announced a special enrollment period (SEP) for the people most heavily affected by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey. The SEP will continue until December 31, 2017, effectively adding a little more than two weeks to open enrollment. To be eligible for the SEP, you have to reside in (or have resided in at the time of the hurricane) one of the counties that FEMA declared eligible for “individual assistance” or “public assistance.” That includes: Seven counties in Georgia, The entire state of Florida, and 47 counties in Texas.
For more information, visit www.healthinsurance.org/faqs/ what-are-the-acas-enrollment periods-and-whencan i-enroll-outside-of-theopen enrollment-period/.