PSA: Sign up for Health Insurance Now
The public registration period on healthcare.gov ends December 15th and the current administration hopes you will forget about it. And yes, the Affordable Care Act is still fully in effect, so take advantage while it is in effect. Here’s what you need to know if you’re in a hurry:
Who needs to register now?
If you are insured at work, follow your employer’s instructions for registration. The deadline is likely to come soon if it hasn’t already, but every employer is different.
If you do not have insurance, or if you have insurance through the exchanges (healthcare.gov or your state’s equivalent), now is your time to act.
Some states are extending the December 15 deadline, so if you live in one of these locations, you’re in luck:
- California : January 31, 2018
- Colorado : January 12, 2018
- Connecticut : January 22, 2018
- District of Columbia : January 31, 2018
- Massachusetts : January 23, 2018
- Minnesota : January 14, 2018
- New York : January 31, 2018
- Rhode Island : December 31, 2017
- Washington (state): January 15, 2018
But it will be very expensive, right?
Good news and bad news here. First, the bad: healthcare itself (drugs, procedures, etc.) is very expensive and gets worse every year . This and vague politics are pushing the premiums higher and higher. If you are not eligible for subsidies this year, you will pay a lot.
The good news is that subsidies are doing their job by making insurance affordable to most people who buy it on exchanges. As prices rise, so does the help you get.
Take a look at this diagram. If you earn less than 400 percent of the federal poverty line, you get a large discount on your premiums (monthly payments). If you earn less than 100 percent of the FPL, you also get a discount on your personal expenses such as deductibles and copays.
Here’s the best news: The subsidies are doing their job so well this year that many people will be able to buy a bronze subscription for literally zero dollars , and 80 percent of people shopping on exchanges will be able to find a plan for $ 75 a month or less. If you were planning on buying the Silver Plan, Silver could be so expensive that the Gold Plan is a better deal.
My last year’s plan is okay, isn’t it?
We always recommend shopping and double-checking if you are eligible for the subsidies. This year it is even more important. Politically, strange things are happening, which is why some plans are much more expensive than you expect and some are much cheaper.
Usually you could wait for the automatic re-registration, and then if you didn’t like your new plan, you could log in and see if there was something better. But this year, automatic registration will happen after it’s too late to change, so don’t rely on that.
What if the only plan I can afford has a high deductible?
High deductible plans are not fun because you pay a monthly fee and have to bear the costs when you get sick. But they are still better than nothing.
Firstly, all tariffs indicate the max. If you get hit by a car or get cancer, you don’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your obligations end as soon as you pay $ 7,350 if you have an Individual Plan, or $ 14,600 for your entire family . That’s a lot, but it’s nothing compared to what you would have to pay if you didn’t have insurance.
You can also get most or all of your regular preventive care “free” with a high deductible plan. You don’t have to pay a cent towards your deductible before checkups, flu shots, or Pap tests.
People are running out of time in most states, so do yourself a favor and check your options now.