JANS - If you need help comparing plans or filling-out an application on the
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, and this year's Open Enrollment marks the fourth annual campaign to extend healthcare coverage to citizens who would otherwise be uninsured. More than 13 million people enrolled in Marketplace plans for 2016.
News of several large insurers either reducing their participation in the upcoming Marketplace, or exiting it altogether, has spurred concern about rising premiums (monthly fees) and higher deductibles (predetermined amounts of healthcare expense an individual pays before health plan coverage "kicks in".)
Majority of enrollees will receive assistance
To help make health insurance affordable, the government uses household income to determine who is eligible for financial assistance. This aid might include advanced tax credits to help pay for premiums, or discounts on co-pays and deductibles. As in past years, a majority of enrollees are expected to qualify for some type of financial support in 2017. Individuals who are re-enrolling on the marketplace are encouraged to re-evaluate and compare plans, as the lowest-cost option can change from year to year.
All health plans on the Marketplace must offer a comprehensive set of benefits, and coverage cannot be denied for individuals with a pre-existing health condition. Some of the health benefits include free preventive care and wellness services; doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital and emergency department care, lab services, pediatric services, and mental and behavioral health treatment.
Individuals who are eligible for health insurance who do not purchase coverage not only pay a penalty when filing their tax return, but they also forfeit financial help with healthcare expenses throughout the year. The penalty is either 2.5% of family income or a predetermined flat rate, whichever is higher. The 2016 penally was