The Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period for 2024 is set to run from November 1st to January 15th, providing individuals with the opportunity to apply for new health insurance coverage or make changes to their existing plans. Last year, a record-breaking number of Americans, nearly 16.4 million, signed up for or were automatically re-enrolled in coverage through HealthCare.gov or state-based Marketplaces. This number more than doubled the enrollment figures during the first open enrollment for the ACA in 2014.
Thanks in part to the Inflation Reduction Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predict that 4 out of 5 HealthCare.gov enrollees will be able to find coverage for the next year for $10 or less per month. This will help make healthcare more affordable for many individuals.
Consumers have various options for signing up for coverage, including online enrollment through HealthCare.gov or a state Marketplace, calling the federal or state helpline, or seeking assistance from an assister, agent, or broker.
It is important for individuals to be aware of the enrollment deadlines. Open enrollment on HealthCare.gov runs until January 15th, with an extension until midnight on January 16th due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. To ensure coverage starting on January 1st, individuals must enroll by December 15th. Enrolling after December 15th but before the January deadline will result in coverage starting on February 1st.
The availability of subsidies can help lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs for individuals. These subsidies are based on household income and can make healthcare more affordable for many.
When choosing a plan, individuals should consider their healthcare needs, including any current primary care doctors or medical specialists they see. It's also important to review plan details, as premiums, out-of-pocket costs, in-network providers, and benefits may have changed since the previous enrollment period.
To assist individuals with the enrollment process, HealthCare.gov provides online resources and a call center. Additionally, local assisters, brokers, and agents can help individuals navigate the enrollment process, although they cannot make specific plan recommendations.
Overall, the Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period provides individuals with the opportunity to secure health insurance coverage or switch to a new plan. Subsidies are available to help make coverage more affordable, and individuals are encouraged to enroll early to ensure they have coverage at the start of the year.