Affordable Care Act
Also known as Obamacare or Marketplace coverage, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is coverage facilitated by the government. These plans do not have underwriting, so even those with pre-existing conditions cannot be turned down by the plan. Regardless of your health, any plan on the Marketplace must allow you to enroll and get coverage. ACA plans are required to cover all mandated preventive care services. Long story short, Affordable Care Act plans offer the best coverage out of any other type of plan available, although this often comes at a high price.
Consumers have the opportunity to obtain Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) based on income to reduce the cost of their monthly premium. Think of this as tax dollars helping pay for your coverage. However, if you are offered coverage elsewhere, such as thorough your job or a spouse’s job, you become ineligible to receive this extra help.
You can enroll in Marketplace coverage during the annual Open Enrollment Period, which takes place from November 1st through December 15th. You can only sign up for a plan outside of this time period if you have a qualifying event, such as getting married, having a baby, losing your job, or getting denied Medicaid, among other things. A qualifying event triggers a Special Election Period, which allows you to enroll in a plan outside of Open Enrollment.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act laws and regulations, please visit Healthcare.gov.
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