FAQ – Affordable Care Act

ACA

When is 2019 open enrollment?
Is Obamacare still in effect, or has it been replaced?
What happens if I don’t have health insurance in 2019?
Since the tax penalty will be eliminated, can I choose alternative health insurance in 2019?
Will I be able to afford health insurance in 2019?
How do I figure out if I qualify for an Obamacare subsidy?
What are my options if I can’t afford major medical health insurance?
Where can I buy affordable health insurance?
How do I choose the best health insurance plan?
Where can I find alternative coverage options if I don’t want to shop the ACA exchange?

 

ACA

 

When is 2019 open enrollment?

Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2018, is the open enrollment period for individual health insurance plans effective in 2019.1

Read more about 2019 open enrollment here.

Is Obamacare still in effect, or has it been repealed?

Obamacare, which is a nickname for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), remains law. As such, individual major medical insurance policies must be guaranteed issue. All individual major medical insurance must also include the 10 essential health benefits and no-cost preventive care as specified in the ACA.

However, the ACA’s individual shared responsibility payment will be repealed Jan. 1, 2019.2 That means you will not owe a tax penalty if you go without minimum essential coverage in 2019. If you were uninsured in 2018 and did not qualify for an exemption from the individual mandate, you could owe the penalty when you file your 2018 federal taxes.

Learn more about the tax penalty repeal and what it could mean for you in 2019.

What happens if I don’t have health insurance in 2019?

As mentioned above, the tax penalty will be repealed effective Jan. 1, 2019.3 That means you won’t be fined if you fail to enroll in minimum essential coverage for 2019.

However, if you went without minimum essential coverage in 2018 and were not exempt from the individual mandate, you could owe the penalty when you file your 2018 federal taxes.

Learn more about what happens if you don’t have health insurance in 2019.

Since the tax penalty will be eliminated, can I choose alternative health insurance in 2019?

You will not owe a tax penalty if you fail to obtain minimum essential coverage for the 2019 coverage year. If you do opt to go without minimum essential coverage, you may want some form of health benefits to help pay for unexpected medical expenses.

You may decide to obtain alternative coverage in the form of a hospital indemnity plan or a short-term medical plan. These insurance policies are not ACA-compliant, which means they do not include the 10 essential health benefits or no-cost preventive services, and they are not guaranteed issue (you could be denied coverage based on your health history).

Read about alternative health insurance options.

Will I be able to afford health insurance in 2019?

Major medical insurance rates for 2019 will be finalized when 2019 open enrollment begins on Nov. 1, 2018. You may be able to find preliminary premiums for certain areas beforehand. Organizations such as the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation track insurer filings ahead of open enrollment; you can view the Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Tracking 2019 Premium Changes on ACA Exchanges” analysis here.

Only you can determine whether or not health insurance plans in your area are what you consider to be affordable. You may want to shop around and compare ACA-compliant major medical insurance as well as non-ACA-compliant coverage options.

You may qualify for a premium tax credit to help lower your monthly premium when you purchase major medical insurance from HealthCare.gov or a state-based health insurance exchange.

Use our calculator to estimate your tax credit for 2019.

Learn about some coverage options when you don’t qualify for a subsidy.

Use Agent Finder to search for a local agent who can help you explore your options.

How do I figure out if I qualify for an Obamacare subsidy?

The Affordable Care Act makes subsidies available to qualified individuals who purchase health insurance from HealthCare.gov or a state-based exchange.  

You can also obtain estimates while you are shopping by using an online calculator tool. Such estimates may help you decide which major medical plan to select and help you decide whether or not to enroll in additional coverage such as medical gap insurance or hospital indemnity insurance, which can help with out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Estimate your subsidy now.

What are my options if I can’t afford major medical health insurance?

You may want to consider alternative coverage that isn’t major medical insurance but that can help you pay for unexpected medical expenses. Such coverage may include short-term medical insurance and hospital indemnity insurance.

If you are concerned about your major medical insurance policy’s high deductible, you may want to consider supplemental insurance to help with out-of-pocket expenses not covered by your major medical policy.

Learn more about supplemental insurance.

Find out what you can do if you think you can’t afford coverage.

Where can I buy affordable health insurance?

There are many places to buy major medical insurance as well as alternative coverage, including HealthCare.gov, state-based health insurance exchanges, websites such as healthedeals.com, and through health insurance agents. The best coverage and the right place to buy it largely depends on your personal situation.

Should you shop around or renew your current plan?

Not subsidy-eligible? Read about your coverage options.

Learn where to shop by state.

Find a local agent to help you!

How do I choose the best health insurance plan?

Choosing health insurance coverage can definitely feel overwhelming, and the temptation can be to focus on monthly premium rather than the big picture. To find the best health insurance plan for you, start by considering your healthcare needs and budget for the year to come. Also, be sure to consider what your healthcare expenses were in the past year and if your current coverage was adequate. Did anything change, or do you expect it to change in the year to come?

Follow these steps to get started selecting your next health insurance plan.

Find a local agent to help you!

Where can I find alternative coverage options if I don’t want to shop the ACA exchange?

There are many places to purchase ACA-compliant health insurance, alternative health insurance, supplemental insurance and health insurance add-ons such as dental insurance. If you want to buy an Obamacare plan that qualifies for a subsidy, you’ll want to shop HealthCare.gov or a state-based health insurance exchange. There are other places to buy if you don’t qualify for a subsidy or want to explore off-exchange options.

Learn more about:

 

Alternative health insurance and supplemental health insurance options are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company, Madison National Life Insurance Company, Inc. and/or Standard Security Life Insurance Company of New York.

Footnotes