Below is a good summary of information regarding the upcoming Open Enrollment Season for ACA plans*:
- Open enrollment has been shortened to 6 weeks, from November 1st - December 15th.
- The shopping experience in the individual market is mostly unchanged.
- Consumers are still required to have ACA-compliant coverage.
- Premium tax credits and Cost-sharing subsidies are still available.
- For enrollment or quoting information, you can go to https://savers.acaexpress.com
If you buy your health insurance in the individual market, it’s essential to understand that in terms of the big picture, little has changed. Despite the seemingly unending ACA repeal battle and constantly evolving predictions about the ACA’s future, the law remains fully intact.
The individual health insurance market is functioning the same way it has since 2014 – albeit with some new regulations. The start and end dates for open enrollment have changed several times since the first open enrollment in 2013, and they’ve changed again for this fall, as noted above.
Also, for 2018:
- You’re still required by law to have ACA-compliant health coverage. If you don’t, you could face the individual mandate penalty.
- There is still open enrollment, and it’s still your only opportunity to buy coverage without a qualifying event.
- Coverage is still guaranteed-issue, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
- All plans purchased during open enrollment will take effect January 1, 2018.
- Premiums for older enrollees are still capped at no more than three times the premiums for younger enrollees.
- All new major medical plans are still required to cover essential health benefits.
- Premium tax credits survive repeal battle
- There are still premium tax credits (aka, premium subsidies) available in the exchange for people with income up to 400 percent of the poverty level.
- In 2017, 84 percent of exchange enrollees are receiving premium subsidies that cover an average of two-thirds of the total premiums.
- Given the premium volatility that we’re facing for 2018, it’s essential for anyone who is eligible for premium tax credits – or who might be eligible with an income fluctuation during the coming year – to enroll through the exchange. Don’t sign up for an off-exchange plan and miss out on the possibility of much more affordable premiums via a tax credit.
- In general, the only people who should be enrolling off-exchange are those who are 100 percent certain that there is no way they will qualify for a premium tax credit during the coming year – keeping in mind that the premium tax credits are available well into the middle class, and will be larger in 2018 than they were in 2017 in order to offset the higher premiums.
*Thanks for healthinsurance.org for compiling this information.