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It is open enrollment season. This is the time where individuals can enroll in the Marketplace to obtain health care benefits, which are provided through the Affordable Care Act – often referred to as Obamacare.
What are the important dates?
Open enrollment is the only time you can sign up for the Marketplace unless you have a special occurrence during the year. This year, enrollment starts November 1st and lasts until January 31st. But keep in mind, if you want your insurance to start January 1, 2017, you must be enrolled by December 15th.
Who must enroll?
If you are not covered by a qualifying health insurance plan or do not qualify for an exemption, you must enroll in the Marketplace. Qualifying coverage includes insurance through jobs, Medicare or Medicaid, and government insurance programs as well. Some individuals may qualify for an exemption, thus being waived from the requirement of healthcare coverage. To see if you qualify, click here.
What are the penalties?
Unless you qualify for an exemption, you must have health insurance. If not, you may have to pay a fee at tax time. The fee is the higher of 2.5% of your income or $695 per adult ($347.50 per child), up to a maximum of $2,085. Keep in mind, these numbers are expected to change in 2017.
How to save money?
Some individuals may qualify for the a premium tax credit to help pay for healthcare coverage through the Marketplace. The amount available for assistance will depend on your estimated income. If you do qualify, your insurance premiums will decrease. To determine if you qualify, click here.
Are there other times during the year that would allow for enrollment?
If you had a change in the following, you may be able to sign up outside of the open enrollment: recently married, had a child, or experienced the death of a loved one.
Where to sign up?
For more information, visit healthcare.gov. You can also call 1-800-318-2596.
Remember: your choice, your future!