ACA Enrollment Period Looms: And It’s Shorter This Year

Despite recent discussions on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one thing is clear: The deadline for 2018 ACA enrollment is looming. And it will be a shorter period than in previous years.

Don’t procrastinate: Open enrollment begins on November 1, 2017, and ends on December 15, 2017. All plans are set to take effect on January 1, 2018.

Generally, you cannot enroll or change plans after December 15, 2017, unless you experience a “qualifying event.” This may include loss of “minimum essential coverage” such as employer plans, Medicaid, or TRICARE; becoming a US. citizen; a permanent move to another state; and marriage or divorce.

Don’t miss the deadline: In many states, insurers have left the exchanges that provide coverage, so choices may be limited. Since open enrollment this year is brief and choices are possibly narrower, be sure you don’t miss the deadline.

Safety first: If you enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplace and are contacted by phone, ensure the caller is an authorized representative who will provide a first name and agent identification number. Never give your Social Security number, or your credit card or banking information, to anyone not affiliated with the Marketplace.

Work with an agent: Working with a licensed health insurance agent is always the best way to obtain health insurance. He or she can review your medical history and suggest alternatives to the Marketplace if you are eligible. And note: Be sure to contact your agent as soon as possible, because most become very busy as enrollment time approaches.