Enrollment News To Bank On: Obamacare Is Still Here So It’s Time For Coverage Checkup

By Michelle Andrews
Kaiser Health News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) FYI: Open enrollment in the 39 states using the federal marketplace starts Nov. 1 and continues until Dec. 15 for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2018.

Kaiser Health News

The open enrollment period begins in one week for 2018 marketplace coverage, but many consumers are confused about what to expect. No wonder!

The Trump administration has slashed advertising and outreach about open enrollment, so concrete consumer information is sparse.

But there’s more than enough political rhetoric to make up for it, with regular partisan pronouncements that the marketplaces have collapsed and Obamacare is dead.

Further muddying the waters on 2018 coverage was the Trump administration’s decision this month to cut off government payments to fund subsidies some marketplace customers receive to reduce their out-of-pocket costs, and a subsequent congressional proposal to restore them.

Though details may change if Congress makes a move, here is key information that consumers can probably bank on. (“Probably,” because in this shifting environment, nothing is certain.)

Open enrollment in the 39 states using the federal marketplace starts Nov. 1 and continues until Dec. 15 for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2018.

That’s considerably shorter than past years. (In some states that run their own insurance exchange, people can sign up through January for coverage.)

If you miss the Dec. 15 deadline and your current plan won’t be offered next year, you may qualify for a special enrollment period that would give you more time to get coverage. More on that below.

Despite the chaos in the marketplace, people who qualify for tax credits to help pay for their premiums or cost-sharing reduction subsidies to lower their deductibles and copayments will get them. And, in some cases, pricing may be turned on its head, plans providing higher levels of coverage may be more affordable than less generous plans.

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