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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.

Is there a penalty for not having insurance?

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.

For many people, it is cheaper to enroll in health insurance—and have the peace of mind that comes from being covered—than it is to pay the penalty. This is because you may be eligible for financial help to make your coverage more affordable. The amount of financial help depends on your income. You may qualify for financial help if your household income is between approximately $12,000 and $47,000. 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.

You may be exempt from the penalty under certain circumstances. For example, you won’t have to pay a penalty if you’re uninsured for less than 3 months in a year or if you don’t file a tax return because your income is too low. If you think you might qualify, you can obtain a “certificate of exemption” from the Marketplace.

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