Fellas, Open Enrollment Starts Today—Everything You Need to Know About Health Plans in 2019

Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and NFL Sundays aren’t the only things happening in November. Today kicks off the annual open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare. With it brings a slew of options for millions of Americans shopping for health insurance for 2019.  But are you confused about where to buy insurance on the marketplace or why it’s needed? No need to worry, we’ve got you covered with the five things to know about this year’s open enrollment.

What’s this open enrollment business about?

  • This year’s open enrollment kicks off Nov. 1 – Dec. 15 –that means you must sign-up by those dates. Individuals can sign up by going to healthcare.gov or their state’s open market website (though not all states have them). Individuals can even sign up via phone or in person; click here to see the various ways to apply for insurance this year.

Is Obamacare still around? Will I be penalized for not having insurance in 2019?

  • While the Trump Administration repealed a key component of Obamacare that required individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty, the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare does remain largely intact otherwise. The 2019 open enrollment period (Nov. 1 – Dec. 15) is the first to include the repeal of the individual mandate, meaning Americans will not be penalized for not having health insurance.

When does coverage start?

  • After signing up by Dec. 15, healthcare coverage starts Jan. 1, 2019.

What do I need to sign up?

  • Enrolling in a health care plan can be as simple as knowing your annual income and which plans fits your needs. But for those who qualify for tax subsidies and/or are enrolling multiple members of their family, here is a checklist of the documents you’ll need for signup.

How much will health insurance cost?

  • Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all price for health insurance. Under the marketplace, where individuals shop for insurance plans, prices can range based on age, location, income, and how much coverage is included in a plan. But prices, on average, tend to go up every year during open enrollment. Some states have passed laws to stabilize prices in the markets while Congress continues to weigh its options. A good breakdown of pricing for low-income plans can be found here.

For more on applying for health coverage, click here.

Joshua Garner

View posts by Joshua Garner
Joshua Garner is communications lead at Men's Health Network

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