When you make the leap and leave your 9–5, you suddenly have exponentially more responsibility. Your inbox is overflowing and your to-do list is the size of a CVS receipt. You’re covering everything for your business and so you should make sure your 2018 healthcare is covered, too. If you’re self-employed (a freelancer, consultant, independent contractor, or a self-employed person who doesn’t have employees) you can use the Individual and Families Health Insurance Marketplace to enroll in health coverage during the Open Enrollment period.
Okay, now that we’ve covered that, here’s what you need to know about this year’s Open Enrollment period for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
You’ve got mail.
Check your mailbox! If you had a Marketplace insurance plan this year, you’ll get two re-enrollment letters. One will come from your insurance company and the other will be from the Health Insurance Marketplace. The letters will contain important info about the steps you’ll have to take to get a premium tax credit, enrollment instructions, whether this year’s plan is available next year, and details on your 2018 premium. They should have arrived by email or snail mail by November 1.
You have to enroll on time.
Don’t procrastinate on enrolling. The Open Enrollment period for the states that use the Health Insurance Marketplace is shorter than it’s ever been. For most states, enrollment begins on November 1, and if you haven’t enrolled by December 15, you won’t be able to choose your 2018 coverage unless you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period (stemming from loss of coverage, getting married, or having a baby), Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Check the exact deadlines for your state because each state varies.
The price depends on your income.
Although the plan options are offered by private insurance companies, the price you pay for insurance depends on your expected household income for 2018. If you qualify for a premium tax credit, your monthly insurance bill and out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-payments will also be lower. You can use this tool to check if it’s likely you’ll save and what that estimated amount will be.
There are five ways to enroll.
Choices, choices! You can apply online, by phone, by mail, through an in-person meeting with a trained assistant, or through an agent or broker. Don’t come empty handed – read the instructions for each method so you know the info you’ll need to provide.
Auto-enrollment isn’t recommended.
If you’ve enrolled previously and do not enroll for next year’s coverage, there’s a chance that you will be auto-enrolled for a 2018 plan. But it’s beneficial to learn about all the 2018 plan options to find out the one that’s best for your specific needs. Start window shopping on November 1.
It pays to get covered.
You’ll be glad you got covered when you receive your medical bills. And there’s another reason to get covered: If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you need to pay a fee unless you qualify for an exception.
You can get small business coverage too.
If you have less than 50 employees, you and your team may be eligible to enroll through the SHOP Marketplace for small businesses. Many of the same rules still apply.
Still have more questions? We’ve teaming up with Care.com, DoorDash, Etsy, Postmates, and Stride Health to create Tech United for Independent Access to Healthcare, a coordinated effort containing the most relevant information regarding the 2017 Open Enrollment period for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. So stay tuned for more content about healthcare coming your way!
Have you used the Open Enrollment Marketplace to enroll for coverage? Let us know your advice in the comments!