Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Open Enrollment Begins Today
None of us intends to get sick or to have an accident, but all of us need medical care at some point. Without health insurance, the costs of medical care, hospitalization, emergency medicines and other health treatment related costs would be too high and we would always be at risk of serious financial problems.
With health insurance, most health care costs are covered and we (and our families) can be, in a way, financially protected from the high costs of medical services (and going into bankruptcy due to them – as happened with many American families in the past.)
Additionally, having health insurance give us the freedom to better manage our own health. Preventive services such as annual doctor visits, immunizations, screening for cancer, are fully covered by the insurance, and best of all you will receive quality medical care whenever and however you need it.
The Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – requires most Americans to obtain and maintain a qualified health insurance plan, obtain an exemption (exception), or pay a fine when you file your 2016 taxes for each month that you or any member of your family does not have insurance. (2.5% of your income or $ 695, whichever is greater for 2016).
The Open Enrollment period is November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.
The Affordable Care Act also makes health insurance more affordable by providing advance tax credits to subsidize the cost of qualified health plans. These subsidies are available for those with incomes that are below 4 times the federal poverty level ($97,200 for a family of four). Households with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level ($33,534 for a family of 4) may be eligible for free health coverage through Medicaid. Pregnant women and children may be eligible if their household’s income is 250% and 300% of federal poverty level respectively.
To qualify for qualified health plan subsidies starting in January 2017 you must enroll or renew your health insurance plan by December 15, 2016. For Medicaid you can enroll all year long.
To be eligible for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, applicants must:
Be living in the state of Maryland
Be a US citizen, naturalized, or legal resident
Not currently incarcerated.
For Medicaid you can enroll all year long if you are:
An adult earning up to 138% FPL
A pregnant women in household with income up to 250%
If you need assistance we can help you. CHEER provides in person enrollment help at our office on Wednesdays between 6pm and 8 pm and on Saturdays between 10 am and noon during the open enrollment period.