RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act health plans on the Healthcare.gov Marketplace starts next Tuesday and runs through January 31 of next year.
In a press release, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy said that residents who currently have a Marketplace plan will need to review their options and, if not, submit a new application for calendar-year 2017 coverage. Healthcare.gov has a page that walks you through your coverage options, and compares plans available to you, including the coverage available to use your preferred medical providers and your prescriptions.
If applying for Marketplace coverage for the first time, viewers should set up a profile on Healthcare.gov, and then start an application.
To set up an account, viewers need to have:
- Household size (how many people you’re applying for coverage for)
- Birth dates and Social Security numbers for all household members on the application
- Employer and income information for all household members on the application
- Policy numbers for current coverage for all household members
A printable checklist for all the information required for the application process is linked here. And Cover Virginia released a great tip sheet for getting ready to renew your enrollment.
According to Virginia Interfaith Center, premiums have increased by about 20%, but tax subsidies will help defray a good portion of the increase for many applicants.
According to the press release, some people have seen decreases in their premiums once the 2017 subsidies are factored in.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has a tool to estimate your tax subsidy – the tool currently reflects 2016 numbers, but will be updated in November to reflect 2017 subsidies.
Some key points to remember about the rate increases:
- It’s important that you shop in the Marketplace for the plan that fits your needs, as you may be able to find a plan that works better for you.
- Around 80 percent of Marketplace customers can choose from two or more issuers. Before the ACA, millions of Americans had no choices because of pre-existing conditions.
- Shopping around can save you money on the Marketplace. For customers that shop around within the same metal level (note that you must choose a Silver level plan to get a subsidy), HHS estimates that consumers could reduce their premiums by $28 per month – or 20 percent – compared to last year.
- One-on-one, in-person free assistance is available for consumers who need it. In Virginia, that help is available from Marketplace assisters. You can find an assister in your area, and make an appointment, on the Cover Virginia site linked here.