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December 11, 2017

Just Five Days Left to Enroll in Health Coverage for 2018

Friday December 15 is the last day that people can sign up for health insurance for 2018 under the Affordable Care Act. After the 15th there will not be another opportunity to enroll in health insurance for 2018 unless you have had a significant event in your life, such as a new job or marriage.

There has been a lot of noise about health care this year, and most of it is confusing. Here are the facts:

  1. Health insurance is available for 2018.
  2. About 8 out of 10 people qualify for financial assistance to help cover health care costs, and in some cases the subsidies will cover the full premium.
  3. There are experts available who are certified to help you select a plan and enroll in health insurance.
  4. You must enroll by December 15th if you want health insurance in 2018.
  5. There is still a financial penalty if you do not have health insurance.

Those who have been through open enrollment understand that window shopping on healthcare.gov is helpful, but having someone to sift through options with you is invaluable.

Navigators and Certified Application Counselors have systems and tools that help you to determine which insurance plan will best meet your health care needs and your budget. The majority of individuals and families who purchase health insurance through healthcare.gov will qualify for financial assistance, and some may even find plans with monthly premiums between $0 and $100.

Navigators and Certified Application Counselors can help make sure your application is complete and can explain how you might qualify for financial assistance to keep your costs low.

  • You can go to coveringwi.org/enroll to make an appointment with a Navigator,
  • call 2-1-1 for assistance in booking an appointment for free, local help, or
  • go to http://bit.ly/WIEnroll to see a county-level directory of individuals who can help you enroll in health insurance.

Many who are re-enrolling this year have been surprised to learn that plans are more affordable than what was quoted in their renewal letter from their insurance company. That’s because the estimates in those letters don’t include updated financial assistance figures.

On average, consumers who qualify for financial assistance will see higher levels of assistance this year as compared to last. Coverage may be cheaper than you think, so even if you’re okay with your current plan you should shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

During the first month of open enrollment about 100,000 people in Wisconsin have signed up for health insurance through healthcare.gov. That number is higher than this time last year, but open enrollment ends this Friday. Taking that into consideration, the total number of sign-ups could be far below last year’s total.

In 2016 people still had more than a month left to enroll, but the Trump administration has cut the 2017 open enrollment period in half. That’s why Wisconsinites need to know that the ACA is still the law and they can still receive financial help, but they have to sign up by Friday!

With less than one week remaining in this open enrollment period, we encourage you to make your health a priority in 2018. Reach out to someone who can help and sign up for health insurance today!

William Parke-Sutherland