The period to enroll or renew health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began on November 1st. Enrolling in a health insurance plan during this period will provide you with health coverage for the entire upcoming year beginning on January 1, 2020.
The enrollment period ends on December 15. If you do not enroll in a plan by December 15, you will not be eligible for coverage until 2021 unless you have a qualifying life change. In previous enrollment periods, an “individual mandate” tax fee was applied if you opted not to enroll in a plan. This fee no longer applies and our state does not have its own individual mandate. (You can read more about the individual mandate policy here.)
Low-cost to free health coverage is available through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To learn more about these programs and see if you qualify, visit this page on the Healthcare.gov website.
The four companies offering insurance plans include Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBS NC), Cigna, Ambetter, and Bright Health. BCBS NC, Cigna, and Ambetter have proposed rate decreases for this enrollment period. To read more about these proposed decreases, click here.
Make sure when you are working through the renewal process to update any life changes, including financial information. Plans and pricing are available at Healthcare.gov based on your needs and income level.
Help is available for anyone who wants to learn more about the ACA and/or enroll. Here are some available resources:
- Healthcare.gov is site where you will enroll in coverage. They have a multitude of resource pages designed to answer your questions, and a toll-free number you can call at 1-800-318-2596 to learn more about what they offer.
- The Get Covered Connector provides free in-person assistance from federally certified assister to find the best coverage that suits your needs. Simply type your zip code in the connector or call 1-855-733-3711 to make an appointment.
- Para español, visite CuidadodeSalud.gov a obtener el mejor plan para sus necesidades y más información. Llamar 1-800-318-2596 a hablar con una profesional.
While the debate continues over the constitutionality of the ACA, it is still law and still the only place many can obtain insurance outside of an employer based plan. We will continue to urge policymakers to leave behind partisan politics in order to improve everyone’s access to affordable health care coverage as we follow the example set by the original universal health care provider, Jesus Christ.