Cut through the confusion about the Marketplace and Open Enrollment

| Jessica Nagro
With all of the policy talk happening it D.C., you might be confused about what’s happening with the Affordable Care Act (also known as the ACA or Obamacare). Congress and the White House have tried to repeal, replace and reform the law that established the Federal Health Insurance Marketplaces. These failed attempts make it hard to know how this affects the upcoming Open Enrollment period that begins Nov. 1. 
 
Here are four key things to remember this Open Enrollment season: 

1. The Health Insurance Marketplaces are open.

The ACA marketplaces – both the federal HealthCare.gov and state-based websites – are still up and running! The marketplaces offer health insurance coverage for 2018, and the Open Enrollment period begins Nov. 1. 
 
Bottom line: Marketplaces are still a great place to access affordable insurance for you and your family. 

2. The period to buy insurance is much shorter this year. 

This year, the enrollment window for HealthCare.gov runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2017. During this six-week period, you can purchase insurance that will start on Jan. 1, 2018. If you live in state that runs its own health care marketplace, your enrollment window may be different. In previous years, the enrollment window has been longer and sometimes extended, which is very unlikely to occur this year. Additionally, the federal government announced that the website will be closed for maintenance every Sunday from midnight until noon (Eastern Time), except Dec. 12., so factor that into your schedule. 
 
Bottom line: Start shopping early.

3. The government is still providing financial help to buy coverage. 

The federal government is still offering the same financial assistance to help you buy health insurance and cover out-of-pocket costs. This financial help (known as premium tax credits and cost-sharing reduction payments) is still available to lower-income individuals who purchase insurance through the marketplace. You may have heard that premiums are much higher this year, and it is understandable to be nervous about what this means for you. However, the government’s financial assistance grows as health insurances costs rise. 
 
Bottom line: Insurance will still be affordable for most who purchase it on the marketplace. 

4. Shop around this year.

A few things have changed this year that could impact which plan is most affordable for you and your family. It is important to study your options and weigh financial assistance available to you against the cost of premiums and out-of-pocket spending throughout the year. You might be pleasantly surprised by which health insurance plans are available to you.
 
Bottom line: Do your homework. 
 
Lastly, if you are currently enrolled in a marketplace plan, your coverage might automatically renew starting on Dec. 16, 2017. This date occurs after the Open Enrollment window closes, so if you are considering changing plans, you need to shop early. 
 
For more information about Marketplace Open Enrollment, request a free Health Insurance Quick Guide, or contact an NPF Patient Navigator by email or phone (1-800-723-9166, option 1).

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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