NEW JERSEY – It’s that time of year once again. Time to put away the Halloween decorations, prepare those Thanksgiving recipes, and – most important – enroll in health insurance plans.
The 2020 Open Enrollment period has begun, running until December 15, 2019. For those who may live on lower incomes or simply cannot afford costly health insurance premiums, fear not. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is still in effect.
If you don’t have health insurance provided through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., live in the U.S. and are a U.S. citizen, you can visit the Healthcare Marketplace to apply for coverage from the government.
Despite numerous attacks by the Trump administration, Obamacare remains standing with approximately 4.1 million individuals enrolled in ACA health insurance plans for 2019, according to a report by BBC.
Since its implementation in 2010, the ACA has helped millions receive the health care they need.
“Before the ACA, health insurance was unaffordable and unavailable for many. Now, with Obamacare, if you meet certain qualifications, the government will help pay for your monthly premiums and out-of-pocket cost. And for those who have preexisting medical conditions, you can no longer be denied coverage under Obamacare,” according to the ACA website.
While the Trump administration has been successful in repealing the Obamacare requirement which dictates that one must buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty, the law itself still stands.
Beginning November 1, 2019, you can begin your application to enroll in a 2020 health plan. You must enroll before December 15, 2019 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
There are certain life changes that can qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period including getting married, having a baby or adopting a child, getting divorced or legally separated, death of someone on your marketplace plan, moving, and loss of health insurance among others, according to Healthcare.gov.
Plans sold during the 2020 Open Enrollment period will take effect on January 1, 2020.
In addition, the amount you pay for insurance has to do with your income. At healthcare.gov/lower-costs, you can take a quick survey to estimate how much your premium will be based on your household size and income.
According to a report by CNN, the average premium for the benchmark health insurance plan will drop 4 percent for the 2020 coverage year.
Now that Open Enrollment season is in full swing, you have a plethora of options to choose from to apply:
- Online at healthcare.gov
- By phone at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
- With in-person help
- Through an agent or broker
- Through certified enrollment partner websites
- With a paper application
More information on how to apply can be found at healthcare.gov/apply-and-enroll/how-to-apply/.
In addition, Ocean County Senior Services will be offering up one-on-one assistance for local seniors in enrolling in Medicare.
Medicare Part D Days will provide local seniors with one-on-one assistance, held at the County Connection at the Ocean County Mall on November 6, 8, 13 and 14 and also December 4 and 5.
Appointments are available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the last appointment at 2:30 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 732-288-7777. Ask for Donna to register.