Some people think that ObamaCare health insurance plans are a great way to secure affordable coverage for your family. Also known as the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare supposedly makes it easy for individuals to get coverage without going through their employer. It also guarantees coverage for essential services like ER visits, inpatient surgeries, and prescription drugs. Since the program is highly controversial, people often have questions about whether it’s worth it, how to get insured and if it’s actually better than what you currently have.
If you’re seeking health insurance coverage, here are a few steps to get started.
1. Check Your Eligibility
To be eligible for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Participants must reside within the United States or its territories, and they must not be serving a sentence in jail or prison. Additionally, ObamaCare is not available to people with Medicare coverage. If you meet these criteria, the next step is to take a look at your household income.
ObamaCare uses tax credits to subsidize health care premiums. These subsidies will limit your premium to an affordable percentage of your income. Eligibility extends to households with incomes between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Incomes outside of this range may not qualify for tax credits under Obamacare.
2. Know the Dates
Once you’ve verified your eligibility, it’s time to prepare for the open enrollment period. Generally, open enrollment runs from November through mid-January. Applicants who wish to have coverage at the start of the following year should apply no later than mid-December. While there is always a federal date in place, some states have different deadlines for open enrollment. It is important to verify the deadline for your state as well.
The ACA allows for some exceptions. Major life events like marriage, relocation, or the birth of a child may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment periods allow you to apply for coverage outside of the usual timeframe.
3. Choose an Insurer
You can apply for an ObamaCare health plan online. The Federal Government maintains an online marketplace where you can browse and compare plans from private insurers who participate in the ACA program. Similar to the open enrollment deadlines, some states also maintain their own marketplaces and do not use the federal date. You can also choose to forego the marketplace entirely and seek out an insurer on your own. Many of the larger health insurance providers participate in the ACA marketplace. However, new insurance companies are opting into this program every day. It’s important to do your research here. Whichever route you choose, it is important to do your research. Take some time to compare premiums and copays for insurers in the marketplace. You want to position yourself to get the most out of any subsidies you receive.
Healthcare costs are a significant portion of any household budget. Some might find that ObamaCare health insurance plans can offer more affordable prices. If you have ever been unsure about your eligibility or the application process, these steps are sure to put you on the right path.
Stay tuned to learn more about other health insurance options like Samaritan Ministries Christian Health Care Sharing.