The clock is ticking for those intending to sign up for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act (also called Obamacare).
This year’s ACA open enrollment period has been shortened considerably. As a result, agents report a surge of health insurance clients so far this month. If you haven’t already, contact your agent for an appointment. You don’t want to miss this limited window of opportunity.
Although some states have extended the period, generally, open enrollment for 2018 coverage began November 1 and will run until December 15, 2017. As of that date, most people can no longer sign up for ACA plans. Unless you have a reason (defined as a “qualifying event” and including a loss of coverage resulting from job loss or divorce, among others) you’ll still have to pay a penalty for being without health insurance. For 2017, this amounts to 2.5% of total household income, or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, up to $2,085. Recent information suggests it will rise in 2018.
While many people feel comfortable navigating the health insurance exchanges, there may not be as much help available when signing up as there was before. Funding has been cut for so-called patient navigator groups, who provided community-based education and information about the ACA, and many have disbanded.
Now it’s even more important than before to work with a licensed health insurance agent. Discover your options and have help selecting the plan that’s right for you. Contact your agent as soon as possible. Don’t miss this year’s short enrollment period.