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Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2017, is the open enrollment period for individual health insurance plans effective in 2018.
The individual shared responsibility provision, often referred to as the individual mandate, is still in effect and the IRS has said it will be enforced for 2018.
If you don’t have health insurance that is considered minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act in 2018 and are not exempt, you could owe a tax penalty when you file your 2018 taxes. Again, the IRS has stated that it will continue to enforce this penalty.
Premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, the two subsidies available through the ACA, are based on your income relative to the federal poverty level. When you buy coverage through a state-based or federally facilitated health insurance exchange, you can apply for these subsidies. You can also obtain estimates while you are shopping by using an online calculator tool; this may help you decide which plan and additional coverage to choose for 2018.
You could be exempt if the least expensive plan available to you in 2018 costs more than 8.05 percent of your household income, you go without minimum essential coverage for fewer than three months, or have an income below the tax filing threshold, among other circumstances.
You may want to consider additional health plans that are not ACA-compliant but can help you pay for unexpected medical care. Such coverage may include short-term medical and hospital plans.
There are many places to buy major medical insurance as well as additional coverage, including the state-based and federally facilitated exchanges, websites such as healthedeals.com, and agents and brokers. The best coverage and the right place to buy it depends largely upon your personal situation:
Choosing a health insurance plan can definitely be overwhelming, and the temptation can be to focus on monthly premium rather than the big picture. Start by considering your healthcare needs and budget for the year to come. Also, be sure to consider what they were in the past year and if your current coverage was adequate. Did anything change, or do you expect it to in the year to come?
There are many places to purchase ACA-compliant health insurance considered minimum essential coverage as well as additional plans to help pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. If you want to buy an Obamacare plan that qualifies for a subsidy, you’ll want to shop a state-based or federally facilitated exchange. There are other places to buy if you don’t qualify for a subsidy or want to explore off-exchange options.