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It’s Obamacare Sign up Time Again

Obamacare is still alive and well and if you’re like so many people who love the insurance plan and all of its benefits, then don’t miss this year’s abbreviated sign up period.

The enrollment period for 2018 coverage is from Nov. 1 thru. Dec. 15.

The insurance marketplaces are still open at healthcare.gov

For people new to the exchange or those who need a refresher, here’s a quick Affordable Care Act Primer.

1. Open Enrollment for 2019 coverage runs Nov. 1 – Dec. 15, 2018

Plans sold during Open Enrollment are effective Jan. 1, 2019.

After December 15, you can enroll in 2019 health insurance only if you qualify for a special enrollment period due to certain major life changing events. i.e., you lose your health coverage, you move out of your coverage area, you get married or you adopt or have a child.

2. The Health Insurance Marketplace is for people who don’t have health coverage.

If you don’t have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.

• If you have Medicare: You can’t switch to Marketplace insurance, supplement your coverage with a Marketplace plan, or buy a Marketplace dental plan. Visit healthcare.gov/medicare for more info.

3. What you pay for insurance depends on your income

Your monthly reduction of the list policy price depend on your expected household income for the year. Over 8 in 10 people who apply are eligible for a price reduction, which is actually a tax credit that you take ahead of the year and use to reduce your monthly premium.

You may qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers or pays all of your monthly insurance bill, and gives extra savings on out-of-pocket costs like deductibles and copayments.

In general, you may be eligible if you are single and your annual 2019 income is between $12,140 to $48,560 or if your household income is between $20,780 to $83,120 for a family of three, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kff.orf. The range differs for families of different sizes.

Healthcare.gov also helps determine if you are eligible for Medicaid.

Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of people and families with limited income, disabilities, and some other situations. Many states expanded Medicaid to cover all households below certain incomes, but Kansas hasn’t done this yet.

Your children may qualify for CHIP even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.

4. Since Kansas has not expanded Medicaid individuals who have a household income that’s below 100% of poverty do not qualify for insurance in the marketplace. So if you’re one of those people who are self-employed and don’t like to show much income, you may want to take another look at what you report. Reporting a little higher income could possibly help your qualify for a quality insurance program at a very affordable price.

5. You can apply for coverage Five ways

• Online – visit healthcare.gov. You’ll need your Social Security number, and your most recent W2, 1099, or other income information.

• By phone – visit healthcare.gov/contact-us for the right number for your situation.

• With in-person help – visit localhelp.healthcare.gov for local helpers.

• Through an agent or broker – if you don’t already have one, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov for ones in your area.

• With a paper application – you still have to download it from healthcare.gov, so you might as well just file online yourself or with a helper.

Penalty for Not Having Insurance repealed

While Congressional Republicans were unable to muster the required majorities to pass several versions of House and Senate health care replacement bills, they were able to include a provision to repeal the individual mandate (i.e. the Obamacare penalty) via successfully passing their GOP tax reform bill to support President Trump’s tax reform agenda.

The Obamacare penalty still applies for 2017 and 2018 tax filings for 2019 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate provision requiring every eligible American to obtain health insurance or pay financial penalty when filing taxes has been permanently scrapped.

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