Don’t miss the Dec 15 deadline for Jan 1 Obama Care coverage!
by Kai EL’ Zabar
If you have concerns that with the president-elect taking office January 2017 your current health care will come to an abrupt end fear not. It won’t. The Affordable Care Act also known as Obama care is working to make health care more affordable, accessible, and of a higher quality for families, seniors, businesses, and taxpayers alike.
To continue your insurance you must enroll now to assure that it will continue for the upcoming year. Once enrolled, your enrolled counts as a legal binding contract.
There has been much talk about the republicans under Donald Trump repealing the Affordable Health Care Act (AFCA)and yet it is part of the fabric of our nation, and it’s the law of the land. Across the country, it’s making a difference for millions of Americans. It’s important that those who appreciate the difference it has made in their health and overall well-being make their senators and state representatives know that you will not stand for its demise.
But first, you must enroll. Thursday, December 15 is the deadline for your coverage to continue or begin January 1, 2017.
How African Americans Fare with Obama Care
For the African American about 3 million adults who were uninsured before AHCA now have health coverage. That equates to the number of uninsured African American adults by more than 50 percent (from 22.4 to 10.6 percent). However, there are still 1.3 million uninsured African Americans that qualify for health insurance on the Marketplace. It’s important that you enroll now to be insured in order to fight from a stance of power.
America has also witnessed an increased in insured Hispanic Asian-American Pacific Islander communities.
Chicago metropolitan area is home to eligible uninsured African Americans. Approximately 15 percent of eligible uninsured African Americans live outside a metropolitan area, a lower proportion than among the eligible uninsured population overall (19 percent).
If you are currently insured it’s important to continue your enrollment. If you have 2016 Marketplace insurance and want coverage for 2017, your best bet is to update your 2017 health insurance application with your expected income and household information for the year ahead – even if you want to keep the same plan. Update by December 15 and your changes take effect January 1. If you are enrolling for the first time then you will do well to go through HealthCare.gov and follow the directions.
There has been so much talk about increased costs, however, you can pursue affordable and financial assistance. Most current Marketplace consumers will be able to find a plan for $75 or less a month in premiums after tax credits. About 85 percent of current consumers and those who are eligible qualify for tax credits. Tax credits increase along with premiums so the law will protect the large majority of consumers from rate changes.
“With plans available for less than $75 per month in premiums, 2.1 million Americans have already selected coverage through HealthCare.gov, more than had signed up at this time last year,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “I hear from people across the country just how much coverage matters to them, so I continue to encourage all Americans who need health insurance for 2017 to visit HealthCare.gov and check out their options. Consumers should be sure to enroll by December 15th for coverage that starts January 1st.”
Time is running out! You only have until December 15, 2016, to sign up for or update your current Marketplace health insurance plan, so it’ll take effect January 1, 2017.
According to HHS:
The 3 most important reasons to sign up now are:
- Don’t miss a day of being covered. Enrolling by December 15 means you won’t have a break in health insurance between 2016 and 2017.
- Plans may cost less than you think. About 85% of Marketplace consumers qualify for tax credits to help with costs. Are you one of them?
- Shopping and comparing will help you find your best option if you have a 2016 Marketplace plan. If you don’t act by December 15, the Marketplace will try to enroll you for January 1 based on information from your 2016 application, to make sure you don’t have a gap in coverage. But the only way to make sure you get the right amount of savings and find the best plan for you is to update your expected 2017 income and household information, then compare plans. You may find new and more affordable plans for 2017, but you’ll never know unless you update and compare for yourself.
Important Things to Know:
- Make sure you get the right amount of savings. If you don’t update your application so your financial help is correct for 2017, you could wind up paying higher monthly health coverage premiums than you have to. Or you might use more advance payments of the premium tax credit than you qualify for, so you’d have to pay the extra money back when you file your taxes.
- You may find 2017 plans that better meet your needs and budget. Health care plans and prices change every year. Your situation may have changed too. Even if you don’t have any income or household updates to report, new and more affordable plans may be available to you. You’ll never know if you don’t shop around.
- If you’re ready to update your application login at www.healthcare.gov/login select your 2017 application. It’ll be pre-filled with your 2016 information, so you only need to update what’s changing. Update any expected income and household changes for 2017. Then continue with your 2017 enrollment.
- If you don’t update your application and enroll in a plan by December 15, you may be automatically enrolled for 2017. This way, you’ll be covered January 1. But the only way to make sure you have a plan that works best for you, with the savings you qualify for, is to update your application and compare plans.
Finally, should you miss the December 15, 2016, deadline open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace continues through January 30, 2017. Enrollment after the December 15 date coverage begins February 1, 2017.