Open enrollment for the insurance marketplace may end on February 15, but if you want coverage starting on January 1, 2015, the deadline is Monday, December 15. After the February 15 deadline, applicants will have to qualify for life changing events in order to apply for plans.
— HHS.gov (@HHSGov) December 15, 2014
Affectionately known as “Obamacare”, open enrollment in the marketplace began on November 15, 2014. Interested Americans can discover their insurance eligibility by visiting healthcare.gov. The marketplace website was once plagued by glitches and kinks, but it seems like most of the major problems have been corrected.
Those that choose not to use the internet application can apply for the marketplace via a hotline, mail, or community counselor. More information on application methods can be found on the U.S. Health and Human Services website.
After creating a login, users are directed through an application where they must disclose information on their household and income.
Once the application is complete, eligibility results are displayed. Many will gain access to private health insurance plans, while those with lower incomes will be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP plans.
People without healthcare coverage will be forced to pay an individual mandate penalty. The penalty will be calculated by household income or a flat fee, depending on which is higher. An explanation of this penalty can be found on healthcare.gov.
Much criticism and debate has swirled around the Affordable Care Act. Many act opponents believe this act will only affect a small percentage of people who purchase individual healthcare plans. Statistics show that about 80 percent of Americans receive insurance through employers. Besides the normal political disagreements, there were even conspiracies and rumors milling around the act. Many of these rumors were widely spread, despite the absurdity.
[Photo credit: HHS.gov]