If you want to have Obamacare through the rest of the year, make sure you sign up by Tuesday, January 31 at 11:59 p.m. Even though President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order that initiated the rollback of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — you can still sign up for insurance through the government marketplace. “Health plans — and subsidies to help low-income consumers pay for premiums — are in place for this year,” reports Ann Carrns for the New York Times. And barring unforeseen drastic changes to existing budgets, coverage you sign up for now will go through the end of 2017.
It may be daunting to shop for an individual policy, but fear not: Inverse is here to guide you through the process.
Step One: Go to the Website
It’s easy. Just click here. That wasn’t too bad, right?
Step Two: Click the Big, Green Button
Or, if you live in Kentucky, click the link below it.
Step Three: Create an Account
If you already have one, just log into it. Once you select your state from the dropdown menu, you’ll be directed to the correct place. And this is where the process becomes different depending on which state you live in, but the essentials remain the same. You will be asked to enter personal identifying information to confirm that you are who you say you are.
Have your social security number on hand, as well as those of anyone else who is included in your application, such as your spouse or children — basically anyone you include on a tax return. This doesn’t include roommates or anyone who lives with you that isn’t a family member or a dependent. It’s also helpful to have a W-2 or your last tax return on-hand if you’re going to apply for federal tax credit assistance.
So with that in mind, let’s talk about the important things to keep in mind as you sign up for health insurance.
A lower premium often means a higher deductible, and vice versa. Some plans may offer different co-pays for prescripton drugs, emergency room visits, or any other essential medical services. Which plan you choose will depend on your personal medical needs. This New York Times article provides a helpful discussion of balancing the various costs involved in choosing a health insurance plan that’s right for you.
The deadline for signing up for healthcare through the marketplace is January 31, and if you make the deadline, your coverage will start on March 1. If you qualify for a “Special Enrollment Period,” you have 60 additional days to sign up. This page will tell you the conditions under which you could qualify for a SEP. These reasons include losing coverage from a job-based plan or student plan, getting out of prison, getting married, having a baby, and a handful of other specific circumstances that affect your taxation and insurance status.
What if You Don’t Make the Deadline?
Missing the deadline to sign up for health insurance is not a good idea. Many circumstances could prevent you from signing up in time, though, so just know that if you miss the deadline, you’ll incur a penalty when filing your 2017 taxes. All the more reason to go ahead and do it now.
What if You’re Having Trouble Signing Up?
Maybe you don’t know how much money you’re going to make this year, or whether to count someone as a dependent. If you’re having trouble for any reason, visit this page to find out who can help you in your area.
The new administration may have suddenly pulled all the advertisements for Obamacare, but don’t let that fool you. You can still buy coverage on the marketplace through Tuesday.Photos via Flickr / bitzcelt