The 2018 Open Enrollment Period to purchase healthcare insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. This is a month and a half less time than was given to sign up in 2016 for 2017 coverage.
If you are:
- Work for a company that does not offer healthcare
- Unemployed and your COBRA is expiring
- Underemployed, part-time and have family responsibilities
You may find it more difficult to find information this year because the advertising budget has been cut 90% (from $100 million in 2016 to $10 million). Help with enrollment will also be more difficult this year because funding to grass-roots navigators that assist with signing up was reduced by 40%. Another move by the Trump administration will take the enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, offline for what may be 12 hours, for maintenance every Sunday during the open enrollment period. These cutbacks combined with the shorter enrollment period mean there is less time to ponder your choices and less help to navigate, what many consider, a cumbersome process.
As the economy of the U.S. evolves to include work that is contract labor, start-up entrepreneurs, and small employer service businesses, it can seem that having health insurance is an expensive option that can be put off until you are older. Statistically this choice might seem a safe one to make until your career stabilizes and you are earning more, or you have family responsibilities.
If you have read this far chances are you have more than a passing interest in the topic and I would ask you to consider the following:
- The current political climate is one in which there is a real chance that pre-existing health conditions will allow insurance companies to require underwriter approval (i.e. charge significantly higher premiums or decide you are uninsurable) anytime in the future. The term “pre-existing” means an illness or injury the insurer randomly decides is connected to a diagnosis. In the future, this could allow the insurer to require underwriting to assess the risk and their willingness to insure.
- Examples of pre-existing can be as simple as you being treated for an STD like HPV that makes you uninsurable for some forms of cancer 5 or 10 years from now. Or, if you see a doctor for anxiety, you could be labeled pre-existing and unable to get coverage for a heart condition when you are older. Removing a suspect mole could mean you cannot get coverage for skin cancer, etc.
- Many but not all current legislative initiatives have included a provision that require continuity of insurance coverage to prevent this type of discrimination.
If you are interested in learning more or getting help finding an insurer or policy we can help.
Call us now at 630.858.5483.