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Financial Help

I heard the deadline has changed – when is this year’s open enrollment period?

The deadline this year has changed! To make sure you have health insurance for 2018, you have to enroll between November 1st, 2017 and December 15, 2017. If you miss the December 15th deadline, you could be locked out of health insurance until 2019 AND forced to pay a penalty and 100% of your medical bills. It’s not worth the risk, especially when financial help is available (so most people can find a plan for $50 to $100).

In past years, the enrollment period was much longer. But the Trump administration is taking every effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and has cut this time in half. That means it’s more important than ever for you, your family, and your friends to know about the new deadline and your rights when it comes to health insurance and health care.

Do I qualify for financial help?

You might – most people do. The amount of financial help depends on your income. You may qualify for financial help if your annual income is between approximately $12,00 and $47,000 (or more based on the number of people in your family). In fact, over 8 out of 10 people who enroll through qualify for financial help, and most people find plans available for $75 or less per month.

If you qualify, you will receive a tax credit that lowers the amount that you pay for insurance each month. Depending on your income, you may also qualify for cost-sharing reductions that lower the amount you pay in co-pays, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs. Learn whether you might qualify for financial help using this quick calculator.

Don’t forget that it’s the law to have health insurance. If you choose to go without coverage, you will have to pay a penalty of either 2.5 percent of your income or $695, whichever is greater. Since most people qualify for financial help, it may be cheaper to enroll in health insurance—and have the peace of mind that comes from being covered—than it is to pay the penalty.

Can I include my child when I apply for financial help?

Yes, if you claim your child on your federal taxes, you should list them on your Marketplace application, regardless of your legal relationship with the child.

Before you enroll, it is important to make sure the plan you pick covers you and your child together. This will depend on how the plan defines a “family.” You can usually find this information by looking at the “Evidence of Coverage” or the “Certificate of Coverage,” which is the full explanation of what is covered or excluded under each plan. If this information is not available, you may need to call the insurers in your state to see what type of coverage is available. We encourage you to take advantage of free help (either in-person or by phone) from a trained assister to help you consider your options.

If you cannot find a plan that covers you and your child, you may be able to enroll yourself and your child individually or check if your child is eligible for your state’s Medicaid program or Children’s Health Insurance Program. After you fill out your application, you’ll be told whether your child qualifies and notified by your state.

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