This is the first week of Open Enrollment for healthcare coverage at Healthcare.gov, which offers citizens coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Elizabeth Orosco speak with Kevin Counihan, CEO of Healthcare.gov.
Open Enrollment period ends January 31, 2017, for 2017 coverage. The last day to enroll for coverage that would be effective January 1, 2017 is December 15, 2016. If citizens enroll after December 15, 2016, the coverage would be effective March 1, 2017.
According to the website, if uninsured, the Individual Shared Responsibility Payment for 2016 is $695 per adult and $347.50 per child (up to $2,085 for a family), or 2.5% of your household income above the tax return filing threshold for your filing status – whichever is greater.
This penalty is a one-time fee for not having Minimum Essential Coverage.
The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) is a federal statue enacted by President Barack Obama March 23, 2010, intended to address nation-wide issues with healthcare coverage. It was intended to increase health insurance quality and affordability and lower the amount of uninsured Americans by expanding insurance coverage.
According to Healthcare.gov, the Affordable Care Act:
- Offers Americans a number of new benefits, rights, and protections in regards to their healthcare
- Sets up a Health Insurance Marketplace (HealthCare.Gov) where Americans can purchase federally regulated and subsidized Health Insurance during open enrollment.
- Expands Medicaid to all adults in many states.
- Improves Medicare for seniors and those with long-term disabilities.
- Expands employer coverage to millions of employees.
- Requires most people to have coverage each month from 2014 in order to get an exemption, or pay a fee.
- And introduces new taxes and tax breaks, among other provisions.
Cost assistance comes in three forms: Premium Tax Credits (PTCs) for reduced premium costs, Cost-sharing Reduction Subsidies (CRSs) for reduced out-of-pocket costs, and both Medicaid and CHIP.
The Act, however, did not come without opposition. Efforts to repeal the legislation have been supported by sources including conservative advocacy groups, Republicans, small business organizations and the Tea Party movement. These groups claim the law would disrupt existing health plans, increase costs, and increase deficit.
Individuals can learn more at Healtcare.gov, and click on the local help tab to receive one-on-one assistance with choosing a plan and enrolling.