By Allen Gjersvig and Alyssa Padilla Special to the Arizona Daily Star
Time is running out. Health insurance enrollment is underway, and Arizonans only have until Friday to enroll for Affordable Care Act insurance on Healthcare.gov. With so much confusion surrounding the health insurance law (also known as Obamacare), we wanted to clarify a few important facts. The bottom line is that many Arizonans can benefit from the affordable health insurance plans offered through the ACA, and no-cost experienced help navigating the process is available.
1. The Affordable Care Act has not been repealed. Despite multiple attempts, Congress has not repealed the ACA. Arizonans who don’t get health insurance through their work or a government program can purchase health insurance on the Marketplace through Dec. 15.
2. The last day to enroll is Friday. The annual health insurance enrollment period for the federal health insurance Marketplace has been cut in half this year. For most Arizonans, this 45-day period is the only time to purchase health insurance from HealthCare.gov, apply for financial assistance or switch current ACA plans. After Dec. 15, only people with specific life changes can apply. Medicaid and KidsCare enrollment is year-round.
3. Free help is available. It’s no secret that health insurance is confusing. Fortunately, experts from local non-profits are available to help make sure consumers select a plan that meets their needs and take advantage of financial help (discounts). Anyone who needs help navigating healthcare plans and understanding their options can schedule an appointment with a certified counselor at CoverAZ.org/connector or call 1-800-377-3536.
4. Plans are more affordable than you may think. Financial help increases when premiums increase, so most families in Arizona will be protected from premium changes. Eight out of 10 Arizonans will pay less than $100 per month for their plan.
5. The majority of Marketplace customers in Arizona qualify for financial help. Tax credits are available for most Arizonans with low to moderate incomes. For example, individuals earning up to about $48,000/year and families of four earning up to $98,000/year are eligible for financial help.
6. About 100,000 Arizonans qualify for a free Marketplace plan. Arizonans in Maricopa and Pima County could find plans for less than $3 per month, and those in other counties could find a plan for free! Qualifications are based on age, income and location, so it’s important to shop for a plan that’s right for you and your family.