2018 Open Enrollment

What You Need to Know about Obamacare / Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment

With the 2018 Enrollment Period approaching, here is some information and answers to common questions you may have regarding open enrollment and health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Is the Affordable Care Act the same thing as Obamacare? 

Yes. The Affordable Care Act is also known as ACA and Obamacare.

What is the Obamacare open enrollment period?

Through the Affordable Care Act, there is a specific period each year called the open enrollment period during which you can enroll in individual and family major medical health insurance plans. The open enrollment period is your chance to sign up for a new health insurance plan or compare your options in the marketplace.

When does the Obamacare open enrollment period happen?

Open enrollment usually occurs during the months of November, December and January. For the 2018, the Open Enrollment Period begins on November 1, 2017 and ends on January 31, 2018.

What are the important dates I should be aware of?

  • November 1, 2017: Open enrollment begins.
  • December 15, 2017: Last day to purchase insurance with coverage starting January 1, 2018
  • December 31, 2017: Individual coverage for 2017 ends regardless of when you enrolled.
  • January 1, 2018: 2018 coverage begins if enrolled by December 15, 2017.
  • January 1, 2018: Last day to pay to avoid a gap in coverage.
  • January 31, 2018: Open enrollment ends. 
  • February 1, 2018: 2018 coverage begins if enrolled between December 16, 2017 and January 15, 2018.
  • March 1, 2018: 2018 coverage begins if enrolled between January 16, 2018 and January 31, 2018.

If I enroll in a new plan, when does my coverage start?

If you enroll in a new plan by December 15, 2017 your coverage will start on January 1, 2018.
If you enroll in a new plan by January 15, 2018 your coverage will start on February 1, 2018.
If you enroll in a new plan after January 15,2018 your coverage will start on March 1, 2018.

When is the best time for me to purchase insurance?

It is best to purchase insurance by December 15, 2017 so that your coverage starts on January 1, 2018. Keep in mind that your coverage for 2017 will end on December 31, 2017. This way you will be able to take full advantage of your annual medical deductible which works on a calendar year, with no gaps in coverage.

When is the last day to pay to avoid a gap in coverage?

The last day to pay to avoid a gap in coverage is January 1, 2018.

What if I have employer-based health insurance?

If you have employer-based health insurance, or health insurance provided through your work, you don’t need to worry about the open enrollment period. However, keep in min that the company you work for may have an enrollment period of its own. Generally, open enrollment for employer-based coverage usually happens each fall, though dates vary.

If I already have a health insurance plan should I re-shop during open enrollment?

It is a good idea to review your coverage options each year during the open enrollment period. Some plans may raise their rates for the new year, some plans may cancelled, and new plans may be added. Because of this and additional factors in your life, the health insurance plan you had last year may not be the best fit for your personal needs and budget for the upcoming year. Your medical needs may have also changed in the past year which could make a new plan with different benefits more appropriate for your needs.

What happens if I miss the Obamacare open enrollment?0

If you miss the open enrollment period, you are running the risk that you may not receive coverage throughout 2018. Outside of open enrollment, you may only be able to apply for individual and family health insurance coverage if you experience a qualifying life event through special enrollment.

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