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Facts About the Affordable Care Act


ACA open enrollment ends December 15, 2017

I buy my health insurance though the Health Insurance Marketplace courtesy of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. A year ago, I kept hearing about rising medical insurance costs, and quite frankly, I was nervous about how this would affect my budget. However, one important fact was not making news: the federal subsidy was also increasing. In 2016, I paid $156 a month. In 2017, my monthly bill was $22.00.  My budget liked that.

This year, there has been a lot in the news about soaring health care costs. I tried not to speculate on what my medical insurance bill would be. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that ACA premiums would be higher. However, the average subsidy would rise more than the average premium.

Open enrollment began on November 1st, so I went to the site to learn my fate. My monthly bill is dropping to $1.00. Incredible. Granted, I am getting the lowest level of coverage. I am healthy and don’t need the silver, gold, or platinum level of protection. So I opted for the bronze level, which I call the costume jewelry plan.

What’s New and Important About ACA in 2018

Here is important information about the latest changes in the 2018 ACA marketplace.

  • The enrollment window was cut in half in the 39 states that rely solely on HealthCare.gov. Previously, people had 12 weeks to sign up for ACA coverage. The enrollment period is longer for the 11 other states and Washington D.C. who offer their own marketplaces and websites.
  • The government is spending substantially less money on getting information to the public about ACA. You may receive little or no information reminding you about the enrollment window.
  • If you are concerned that President Trump’s decision to cut the cost-sharing reduction means your insurance premium will increase, it won’t. Insurance companies will have to bear this burden, which means it may affect their willingness to offer ACA in future years, but for now, it will not affect you.

The Bottom Line:

If you buy your insurance from the HealthCare.gov, don’t wait too long to enroll.  You must take action by December 15, 2017 to have coverage in 2018.

If you need expert help, you can call the HealthCare.gov hotline at 1 (800) 318–2596 to speak to a trained professional or visit https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/#/ for in-person assistance.

Please spread the word.

Click here to read today’s NPR news story about ACA.

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