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Heads Up: You can still sign up for Obamacare and open registration is now under way

Despite nearly constant political attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), market coverage (often referred to as Obamacare) has continued. Now is the season for open enrollment. Here's what you need to know about signing up for a plan on the health insurance market.

. 1 First of all, you should know if a marketplace plan is right for you.

Depending on your employment and other circumstances, you may have some options when choosing your health insurance. Here's what you need to know about each option. By the way, if you are 25 years or younger, you could fall under the insurance of your parents.

Employer Sponsored Plans: A form of group health insurance sponsored by employers gives you the option of being covered by your job. In this case, your employer will also be responsible for a significant portion of the cost of your healthcare. Your rewards (the monthly fee you pay in any case) are usually taken directly out of your paycheck, so that (hopefully) the whole thing is fairly seamless. If your employer offers health insurance and you do not fall under the plan of a parent or spouse, this plan might be right for you.

Student Insurance: Another form of group insurance, but this time it's your college or university taking responsibility for this part of your healthcare costs and not for an employer. This may be correct for students who can not be enrolled in the parent or students (including graduates) who are 26 years or older and are therefore no longer in the age group due to the parent plan. However, not all colleges and universities of this kind are valid, and some apply only during the school year .

Medicaid: Medicaid is both a federal and a federal program that provides health to people who meet certain low-income requirements who may be adjusted to their living circumstances (for example, if they are pregnant) and in In some cases, when they have a significant need for health. Each state has its own version of the program, so the exact regulations in the US may vary. In general, however, the program is limited to US citizens or qualified non-nationals, and to residents of the state in which they receive Medicaid. 19659010] Medicare: This is a federal program that provides health insurance for persons over 65 years of age, young people with disabilities and those with specific health problems. In fact, consists of two parts each with their own entitlement requirements: Part A relates to health insurance and Part B covers Medicare insurance. Yes, you can qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare at the same time, but you do not have to sign up in both cases because many of the benefits overlap.

Marketplace Plans: These plans are available to US citizens living in West Germany who are not imprisoned. Instead of having your employer or college pay for part of your healthcare costs, the Affordable Care Act grants subsidies to low and middle-income citizens to pay their insurance. Plans come from major insurance companies in 19459004, four "metals" (from bronze to platinum), which relate to the amount you pay (and when), against the amount your insurance pays. Bronze and Silver plans have lower premiums but higher costs if you need care. On the other hand, gold and platinum plans have higher premiums and lower costs if you need care. An agent or broker of can also help you sign up for a Marketplace Plan and apply for loans or subsidies to help you pay.

For example, a Marketplace Plan might be suitable for you under the age of 65. If you are no longer insured in your parent's insurance, your employer will not provide health care (for example, because you work part-time or self-employed) and your income for Medicare is too high.

. 2 To sign up for ACA coverage, you can visit healthcare.gov .

The starting point for finding a plan is healthcare.gov which asks you to enter your zip code. From there, the website takes you to the website of your state. For example, in New York, you'll probably be sent to NY State of Health .

However, there are other places such as eHealth HealthPlanOne or HealthInsurance.com which act essentially as an online broker. They contain plans that you will find on the federal market, and some that you will not do, but they do not necessarily have the same protection or coverage as ACA-compliant plans.

. 3 The registration deadline for the federal market is 15 December.

Like last year you have about half as much time to sign up as in previous years. The last day you can enroll is December 15 Caitlin Donovan, director of public relations and public relations at the National Patient Advocate Foundation [1945949] tells SELF.

If you have a lot of time, you must do some important things before choosing your plan. Also, the site will no longer be available to wait several hours each Sunday except the last one before the deadline. The sooner you can get started, the better.

If you sign up on or before December 15 and pay your first premium your plan is guaranteed to come into effect on January 1, Erin Hemlin, National Director of Education and Consumer Education at Young Invincibles tells SELF.

After that, you may still be able to log in during a special description if you have experienced certain qualifications Events z. Loss of your previous coverage, childbirth, marriage or move. So, if you do not meet the deadline and lose your coverage because your plan no longer exists, for example, you can sign up later, but there may be a gap in coverage. The only way to ensure that you are covered at the beginning of the new year is to register before the deadline (15 December!). If you have not experienced one of these qualifying events yet, you can still sign up for a plan that starts on January 1, 2019.

. 4 Make sure you have some important information before you even sit down to choose a plan.

Before signing up, you need to have an idea of ​​your income and your care budget for the coming year. It does not have to be precise, but you need to know roughly what you can spend on your premium, appointments with specialists, or a surprise trip to the hospital, says Donovan.

You also need to know your general tax information, as this determines whether you are eligible for a subsidy or not, and Donovan recommends that each at least check to see if they qualify. "The vast majority of people shopping on the federal market are eligible," says Hemlin. Subsidies (also known as Premium Tax Credits ) are determined in part by your income and the number of people in your household. Therefore, it is also important to update your information if something has changed.

Remember, even if the price of a plan is expensive for your budget, it is probably much more expensive to handle an unexpected health emergency if you have no cover.

. 5 Prices are likely to be similar to last year, albeit not a bit cheaper.

When we entered the open enrollment phase last year, we had to deal with a widespread threat of ACA cancellation, which has been reluctant by insurers and some countries have withdrawn several from participating Hemlin. But that is not necessarily the case anymore. In fact, this year 23 insurers will be added during the open enrollment, and in some places the premiums have actually dropped .

"Compared to last year, it looks pretty good for consumers," says Hemlin. "They probably have more choices and prices will look similar to last year, though not a bit cheaper."

To streamline the process, you can simply subscribe to the 2019 version of your plan. But, Donovan warns, important changes could be made to your plan. And Hemlin points out that with the addition of these new insurers, it is possible to find a more favorable plan than the one you have now, or that your circumstances have changed so that you are eligible for new subsidies. Even if you think you want to stick to your plan, you should check it to make sure everything you need is covered.

. 6 If possible, contact healthcare.gov, as the third-party Web sites may not comply with ACA guidelines.

Short-term "junk" plans may be tempting as they result in lower premiums, Donovan says and may be available in certain circumstances, for example, if you miss or wait for ACA's registration deadline. until the insurance of your new job arrives. But they could leave you in an unfavorable place in case something happens

The thing is, these plans do not conform to the ACA and therefore are not subject to the same requirements for coverage that are other plans. This means that there is a lack of some types of coverage that we believe to be the default, such as: Maternity care or hospital visits, and may not be exactly in advance, says Hemlin

of these games (California has completely banished them). The easiest way to avoid a plan like this is to use only healthcare.gov when you buy a plan because this site can only sell plans that are ACA compliant, says Hemlin.

. 7 Know that your plan will not disappear suddenly even in this political climate.

"Here's some good news: Nothing will happen now," says Donovan. With a split Congress, it is unlikely that the ACA will be significantly affected, she says. And even if this is the case, your plan does not stop suddenly to exist. "But if you sign up for a plan, it's there," she says. "You can not break down in the middle of the year."

And even more good news: The contraceptive mandate of the ACA, which requires that many forms of birth control be covered by insurance at no cost to you, has also remained intact, Donovan says. (Yes, the Trump government has just published a definitive rule that might affect this in certain circumstances, but is still not flipping .)

8. If you feel overwhelmed by all this, that's fine.

This is an understandably exhausting decision to think about, let alone meet. So if you feel anxious or overwhelmed, you should take your time and know that you can complete the process in chunks. Most login pages allow you to save your progress along the way, says Donovan. So if you need to look something up or just need a break, you can pause. If you need additional help, Hemlin also recommends taking a look at the Get Covered Connector from Young Invincibles, which connects you to someone nearby who can personally guide you through the process.

And there are other practical ways to reduce the pressure associated with dealing with insurance. For example, when it comes to prescriptions, you can always ask for a generic version of your medication, which is more likely to be covered by insurance. Or you can talk to your pharmacist about whether he can help you with a discount card, or whether it would actually be cheaper to use not your insurance in this particular case (that happens!). It's also worth trying out a resource such as GoodRx or NeedyMeds which can redirect you to pharmacies where your medication is cheaper.

But really, if it's you If you're feeling stressed or worried about your treatment, talk to your doctor, says Donovan. You may be able to convert to a generic version of your treatment or refer you to a billing agency for a scholarship or special discount. "Your physical and financial health is closely linked," she explains. So this discussion is not only good for your bank account, but also for you .

. Finally, Donovan says, "Remember that doing something really good for yourself will eventually lead to peace of mind."


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