Last Call: ACA Enrollment Period Ends January 31, 2017

The window on enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance plans is closing fast. And if you’re considering purchasing a plan, it’s time to act.

The health care coverage you choose is one of the most important decisions you make in your life. And the open enrollment period for the ACA ends January 31, 2017. If you miss it, well, you miss it: You won’t be able to buy ACA coverage for 2018 on your state’s health care marketplace until late 2017.

In the meantime, you may find yourself facing fines for being uninsured: the penalty for not obtaining coverage through a qualified health plan is significant. The ACA penalty for 2017 remains at 2.5% of total household adjusted gross income. However, the flat fees (currently $695 for adults and $347.50 per child, capped at $2,085 per family) will be adjusted for inflation next year.

If, however, special circumstances occur such as a job loss, you may qualify for coverage of up to 60 days after the job loss. In addition, you may enroll in the Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid at any time.

A note of caution: You will, of course, want a plan with the lowest copays, deductibles and coinsurance possible. However also be sure you review each plan carefully, paying particular attention to the insurer’s available medical providers to make sure your physician is covered.

On November 1, 2016, the ACA website posted final rates on its rate-review section; however, navigating the ACA website can be difficult and time consuming. As well, many people have recently become concerned about the lack of choice of ACA health insurers in their particular geographical areas. Contact your health insurance agent who can help you explore your options.