Sunday, December 10, 2017

Heitkamp: How to Sign up for Health Coverage during Open Enrollment

I’ve long said the health reform law isn’t perfect, and I’ve been pushing to make it work better for North Dakota families and small businesses. But there are many pieces in it that are helpful and I want to make sure you take advantage during open enrollment. Every individual and family should be able to get access to affordable, quality health care, and no one should have to go bankrupt to pay for health care for a child with disabilities, a sick family member, or just an emergency that you never thought could happen. Please make sure you sign up for health coverage.

Timeline: Open enrollment is a month and a half shorter this year than in previous years. You must take action by December 15, 2017 or you’ll risk not having coverage for 2018 and have to pay a penalty. If you miss this deadline, the only way to get coverage in 2018 is to have a qualifying life event

If you already have a plan: Even if you have health insurance through HealthCare.gov already, it’s worth checking out plans again, as plans and prices can change each year, and there may be a more affordable plan available that meets your needs. HealthCare.gov – known as the health insurance marketplace -- makes it easy to shop and compare the plans available in your area. You can compare plan benefits and coverage prices and find out if you qualify for financial assistance.

Most people qualify for financial assistance to afford plans: Most North Dakotans who sign up for coverage through HealthCare.gov qualify for federal assistance to help you afford coverage. As a result, 8 out 10 people qualify for financial help lowering monthly premiums to between $50 and $100.

Changes to in-person help: The administration cut federal funding for in-person assistance to help you sign up for coverage. Unfortunately, as a result, this year Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board doesn’t have enough funds to operate and won’t be able to help North Dakotans sign up for coverage as it has done in previous years. Minot State University will still continue to help North Dakotans sign up for coverage, even though its federal funds were cut by 96%, and Family HealthCare in Fargo will still operate.

Read more here.

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