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ACA / OBAMACARE
You Can Still Enroll in Obamacare: Five Answers to Questions About Getting Covered
By HAEYOUN PARK NY Times : Oct. 14, 2017
1. Is the government still helping pay for coverage?
Yes, you can keep getting subsidies.
President Trump said he would stop paying critical subsidies to health insurers that help reduce out-of-pocket medical costs for low-income consumers.
If you are eligible for these discounts, you will still get them because insurers are required by law to offer them. The cut ultimately hurts insurers, and the impact will be felt in other ways as insurers raise premiums or decide to exit the market.
The tax credits that help middle-income consumers by reducing the cost of premiums remain in place because the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the federal government must provide them.
2. When can I sign up?
In most states, from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15.
The Trump administration shortened the window to sign up for coverage. In 42 states, the open enrollment period this year starts Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15.
You have a little more time in eight states and Washington, D.C., which operate their own marketplaces. Open enrollment still begins Nov. 1, but the deadlines have been extended.
Nov. 1 - Jan. 23
Those who qualify for Medicaid can sign up all year long. And if you live in a state that expanded Medicaid, those eligibility rules remain unchanged. Republican leaders have tried to repeal the expansion but they have not been successful.
3. Where can I sign up?
The Trump administration has made some changes that will make it more difficult to enroll in coverage. For example, you will most likely see less advertising and promotion because outreach funding has been substantially reduced. There may also be fewer people who can help with enrolling because the administration slashed that budget as well.
Despite the administration’s efforts, however, the Affordable Care Act has withstood repeated congressional opposition. The House passed a bill to repeal the health law in May, but multiple efforts by Senate Republicans have collapsed.
Thsi means that you may still sign up for coverage in the marketplaces if you do not already have insurance through work or the federal government. Just visit Healthcare.gov.
4. Will my insurance be more expensive?
If you get premium subsidies, probably not.
Some insurers are raising premiums by more than 50 percent for 2018, largely because of uncertainty about the future of the Affordable Care Act.
Despite these increases, however, consumers who qualify for federal subsidies — about 85 percent of the roughly 10 million people who buy insurance through the marketplaces — will largely be shielded from the higher prices.
Those who earn too much to qualify for financial assistance will feel the brunt of any increases.
5. If I already buy my own insurance, can I just renew?
Yes, but you should really shop around this year.
Insurers have raised prices in different ways, so it is important to shop around for the best plan this year, especially if you do not qualify for government subsidies.
Many insurers have raised prices most sharply for the “silver” plans, which are popular among people who get generous subsidies from the federal government. So those who do not get subsidies may have to look for plans not affected by these increases or look outside of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces for lower-priced options.
In some places, the “gold” plan, which is typically more expensive, might be less expensive because of the steep price increases on silver plans.