In his continued effort to spite Barack Obama, Donald Trump has once again cut funding for advertising and outreach programs that help people sign up for Obamacare.
The Trump administration is once again slashing funding for a program that helps Americans sign up for Obamacare.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Tuesday that it would provide only $10 million for the navigator program for this fall’s open enrollment season. The move is the latest effort by the Trump administration to undermine the Affordable Care Act.This past year, navigators only received $36 million in funding, down from $63 million in 2016. The reduction was paired with a 90% cut in Obamacare’s advertising budget.
Trump doesn’t want people to have healthcare. He has made that quite obvious. But people should have healthcare. So, we will just have to spread the word ourselves.
First off: when can you sign up for Obamacare?
The 2018 Open Enrollment Period runs from Thursday, November 1, 2018, to Saturday, December 15, 2018.
Begin highlighted textIMPORTANT: 2019 Open Enrollment is only a few weeks
If you don’t act by December 15, you can’t get 2019 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2019.
How can you sign up?
You can apply for coverage 5 ways
Starting November 1, you can apply any way that works for you:
- By phone
- With in-person help
- Through an agent or broker
- With a paper application
How much will it cost?
What you pay for insurance depends on your income
Your savings depend on your expected household income for the year.
Get a quick idea if you’ll save. Based on your income estimate, we’ll tell you if you qualify for:
A health insurance plan with savings based on your income
What other options might be available?
The Health Insurance Marketplace is for people who don’t have health coverage
If you don’t have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying health coverage, the Marketplace can help you get covered.
- If you have job-based insurance: You can buy a plan through the Marketplace, but you’ll pay full price unless your employer’s insurance doesn’t meet certain standards. Most job-based plans do meet the standards.
- If you have Medicare: You can’t switch to Marketplace insurance, supplement your coverage with a Marketplace plan, or buy a Marketplace dental plan. Learn about Medicare and the Marketplace.
Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
Medicaid and CHIP provide free or low-cost coverage to millions of people and families with limited income, disabilities, and some other situations.
- Many states are expanding Medicaid to cover all households below certain incomes. See if your state is expanding and if your income is in range to qualify.
- Your children may qualify for CHIP even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid.
Who is available to help with questions or the enrollment process?
1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (except holidays)
Find Local Help/Agent-broker help on demand
Find people and organizations in your community trained to help you enroll.
Lastly, the elimination of the individual mandate by the Trump administration and Republican congress has created an opportunity for health insurance companies to sell plans that do not comply with ACA standards. These are typically referred to as Short-Term Medical plans or STM plans. Their use should only be for those who have a short-term coverage gap, but because the individual mandate has been eliminated, they are now often being marketed as alternatives to Obamacare plans. They are cheaper, but do not cover nearly as much. This lesser coverage means they are better deals for the insurance companies, so in many instances, the insurance companies have begun offering independent insurance agents and brokers higher incentives to sell these plans. This has resulted in some aggressive marketing of these plans by independent agents and brokers. If your insurance need is not for a short-term coverage gap, please be aware of the possible pitfalls of these plans that are outlined below:
Applicants can be rejected for coverage if they take prescription medications or have a health condition, which the federal law prohibits for other types of insurance.
Short-term policies rarely cover maternity care.
Some cap the dollar amount of care they will cover.
They can’t be renewed and any medical conditions policyholders develop during the course of the policy can be excluded from coverage if they do re-apply.
To sum up these STM plans, if you do not have a short-term coverage gap that you know will be covered by another plan, such as an employer plan at a new job you are starting, you could be taking a big chance with one of these plans. If you get sick while covered with one of these plans, you might lack coverage to pay for your care. Be careful. They are being heavily marketed. Contact Healthcare.gov if you have questions.