Health Insurance Open Enrollment will continue through Dec. 15. Here are the facts:
- Open enrollment on the health care marketplace began Nov. 1 and lasts until Dec. 15 on HealthCare.gov. Beat the rush and sign up early. Remember, the site will be down most Sundays between midnight and noon, so plan accordingly.
- No matter if this is your first time getting covered or you are returning to shop and save, you must take action by Dec. 15.
- Those who choose to go without health insurance may have to pay a penalty. There is a minimum penalty of $695 for not having health insurance.
- 4. Coverage could be more affordable than you think – and there is a possibility to receive financial help. Last year, 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help – for most people that meant they could find premiums between $50 and $100 per month.
- Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a call or click away. Call 844-644-5443 or visit www.getcoveredtenn.org.
Enrollment success stories in Tennessee
Patient worried about loss of insurance
Health Insurance Navigator Katherlyn helped a woman who had recently lost her job due to health problems. She had already survived breast cancer once, and was so worried about losing her employer coverage that she signed up for COBRA coverage that cost her $1,000 a month.
She was also paying $300 per month for mammograms to make sure the cancer hadn’t come back.
Paying for the COBRA, her health expenses and her living expenses had used up much of her retirement savings, and she didn’t know how she would find care once the COBRA ended or the money ran out.
Katherlyn helped her enroll in a plan with no premium and a $40 family deductible. The woman was so grateful to Katherlyn and so relieved the ACA plan was there for her. COBRA insurance is very expensive to consumers because the employer is no longer helping to pay the premium.
You may find more affordable options on healthcare.gov! Visit getcoveredtenn.org to make an appointment with a Health Insurance Navigator.
Family of five finds coverage
Certified Health Insurance Navigator Emilie helped a family of five find health coverage after the father lost his job and the health insurance that came with it.
After six months of searching for another job, he’d found temporary work delivering pizzas to make ends meet, but the entire family was left without health insurance. Emilie helped the family find an ACA plan with a $0 premium and a $125 per person deductible. Thanks to her help, this family is covered until they can get back on their feet.
Part-time worker finds insurance
Health Insurance Navigator Tracy helped a 62-year-old who has worked at the same department store for 25 years and makes $12/hour. Because she works part-time, she is not eligible for health insurance through work.
With Tracy’s help, she enrolled in a bronze plan for $4.61 per month with a $3,500 deductible. Tracy also showed her that since she is a smoker, the silver plan (which provides more coverage with only a $125 deductible) would cost $224/month, which was too expensive for her.
However, if she were to quit smoking, the plan would cost $0/month with a $125 deductible. Tracy explained the free preventative services built into each plan, including a tobacco cessation program. This motivated the woman to quit smoking, and she asked Tracy to call her in six months to see if she had quit so they could (hopefully) report it to healthcare.gov and lower her premium.
Affordable health care for children
Health Insurance Navigator Aida helped the parents of two young children find affordable health care. The parents had been insured through a Marketplace plan last year, but they were worried about being able to afford the premiums this year after a drop in family income.
With Aida’s help, the parents learned they were eligible for TennCare, which will provide coverage for the entire family.
Cost of insurance lowered
Health Insurance Navigator Tracy helped a woman who had been insured through an older, pre-ACA plan in the past.
Her old plan cost $367 per month and had a $10,000 deductible, and because it was not considered credible coverage under the ACA, she’d paid an additional tax penalty, too.
She’d also had back surgery in the past, and this year, she was told that the plan would not cover any services related to her back. After discussing her options with Tracy, she was astounded to find an ACA insurance plan that costs just $2.46 per month with a $3,000 deductible that also covers all of her health needs.
Jacy Warrell serves as executive director, Tennessee Health Care Campaign. If you would like to talk to a local health insurance Navigator or an individual who has benefited from an ACA plan, call 615-227-7500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.