The enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reopens today, despite the current administration’s repeated attempts to repeal, replace, and defund the former administration’s healthcare policy. As we await the unveiling of the GOP-led Congress’ newest healthcare proposal, many Americans are left confused on whether they are still eligible to receive government subsidized healthcare plans through the ACA. There is a common public misconception that because Congress is currently drafting a new health care plan, the ACA is no longer accessible.
Can I still get health care coverage through the ACA?
Yes. The confusion is likely due in part to the fact that there has been virtually no government-funded public promotion for this year’s open enrollment period, leaving many people unaware that the program is still in place.the Trump administration has cut this year’s advertising budget for ACA outreach by 90%. In fact, an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence estimates that the lack of outreach will lead to 1.6 million fewer Americans signing up for plans this year as compared to last year. Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter to remind the public that open enrollment for the ACA will still begin today, November 1st.
In a promotional video, Obama explains that all U.S. citizens are eligible to shop around for an ACA healthcare plan that fits their healthcare needs. “You can find a health insurance plan that is right for you and your family,” explained the former president, who went on to say “8 in 10 people this year can find plans for &75 a month or less.” Go to the federal exchange’s website https://www.healthcare.gov to explore your 2018 healthcare plan options. If you are going to shop for an ACA plan, do so quickly. 2018 open enrollment has been shortened and will now only run through December 15th, instead of through January, like prior years. Some states have decided to expand their deadlines in order to allow more citizens to get coverage. You can check to see if your state has an expanded deadline on the state Department of Health website.
What is “open-enrollment”?
Open enrollment is the period of time when people are able to purchase health insurance coverage for the upcoming year. Open enrollment periods are established to discourage people from just buying healthcare coverage when they are sick or needing medical assistance. Government subsidized healthcare open enrollment periods are separate from other health enrollment periods, such as your workplace health plan enrollment period.
Should you sign up for a healthcare plan through the ACA?
If you aren’t covered through your employer or another government program (such as Medicare or Medicaid), you should definitely sign up for a new plan. In fact, under ACA stipulations, most Americans are required to carry some form of healthcare coverage or otherwise face a penalty. If you have a job-based insurance offer, you can choose to either take that option or substitute your employer coverage for marketplace coverage through the exchange.
Which coverage is right for you?
There are a number of different plans with different types of coverage and different premiums. While you will likely have multiple options, it is important to shop around for the plan that fits your needs and falls within your budget. Consider the kind of coverage that best suits your healthcare needs, but be sure to also consider what premium rates are affordable.
Spread the word
Unfortunately, little has been done in terms of public outreach to promote this enrollment period. There have been reports of individuals handing out flyers, literature, making announcements on social media websites and other platforms – telling people that the ACA is no longer available for 2018. Again, this is completely untrue. Spread the word and make sure that your family and friends get coverage this year.