Wednesday, December 15, is the deadline to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act for plans that start on January 1. People can still sign up for plans that start in February until January 15.
“Millions more people nationally are now eligible for financial help. And those who are already eligible are now eligible for far more generous financial subsidies to slash down on your premiums, and in a lot of cases, your deductibles and co-pays and things like that as well.” — Charles Gaba, ACAsignups.net
That deadline is one of many new details that healthcare experts say people need to be aware of and consider during open enrollment this year.
Listen: Charles Gaba of ACAsignups.net talks about what Michiganders need to know about signing up for health coverage this year
Charles Gaba is a Bloomfield-based healthcare data analyst and founder of ACAsignups.net, which tracks healthcare signups on Healthcare.gov. He says that people should still try to sign up for plans before the December 15 deadline if they are able to.
“December 15 is the deadline if you want your coverage to start on January 1,” says Gaba. “But if you enroll between then and January 15, then you would still be able to have coverage starting February 1. I still strongly advise people to get in before December 15, so that you have coverage right out of the gate starting January.”
Gaba says the most important thing for people to consider this year is that they might be eligible for thousands of dollars more in federal help than in previous years.
“I cannot stress this enough,” he says. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, which was passed last spring… the financial subsidies for paying for covering your premiums, if you enroll in an ACA plan, has been dramatically expanded and improved so that millions more people nationally are now eligible for financial help. And those who are already eligible are now eligible for far more generous financial subsidies to slash down on your premiums — and in a lot of cases, your deductibles and co-pays and things like that as well.”
“You could be leaving literally thousands of dollars on the table.” — Charles Gaba, ACAsignups.net
Gaba says that if you’ve tried to sign up for coverage through Healthcare.gov in the past and found out that you didn’t qualify for any help, you should try again this time around.
“The odds are that you probably will qualify this year, at least for some assistance,” he says, “and in many cases, people are going from no assistance to thousands of dollars in savings.”
He also recommends that if you’ve purchased health insurance through individual insurers in the past — which he says has made sense for some people up until now — you should try going through the healthcare exchange this time around.
“You could be leaving literally thousands of dollars on the table,” says Gaba. “So if you’re off-exchange, which is what that’s called, I would go on-exchange this year.”
Gaba predicts that thousands and maybe millions more Americans will sign up through the healthcare exchange this year compared to past years because of the influx of federal assistance.
“I suspect that this is probably going to be the largest, the highest open enrollment period since the exchanges launched in late 2013,” says Gaba.