We’ve given up trying to predict what the outcome will be of the various political processes involved in trying to repeal and replace Obamacare! It may or may not happen.
We have to work with what the situation is now. And as of this writing, Obamacare is still the law that governs individual health insurance. And guess what? The government (CMS, specifically) has issued updated regulations and changes to Open Enrollment.
The brief summary: It’s a lot shorter.
Open Enrollment for 2018 will be November 1 – December 15, 2017.
In previous years, Open Enrollment has lasted from November 1 to January 31 (or even longer than that in the first year or two of the law). Now things are much more compressed.
As a reminder, Open Enrollment is the only time of the year that consumers can purchase individual health insurance plans, on or off of the federal Marketplace. So if you want coverage in 2018, you’ll need to make sure you get it set up in November or early December.
Verification Required for Special Enrollments
The law allows for consumers to get individual health insurance outside of Open Enrollment if they’ve had a life event that qualifies them for a special enrollment period. These would include things like marriage or divorce, having a child, losing employer-based coverage, or moving to a new state.
None of that has changed.
What’s new is that pre-enrollment certification will be required for 100% of people applying for special enrollments. In other words, you’ll have to provide proof that you qualify for a special enrollment. This change is scheduled to take effect June 19, 2017.
The reason for this change is simply to prevent fraud.
Alternatives to Obamacare
There are alternatives to Obamacare, but none of them provide comprehensive coverage like you would receive in a qualified individual health insurance plan. But with that disclaimer, there are some decent alternatives that a lot of people wind up utilizing.