Obamacare is Not Dead! What Massachusetts Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2018
In Massachusetts, Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance plans begins November 1, 2017 and ends January 23, 2018.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has not been repealed. You are still required to comply with the ACA and you are still entitled to its benefits.
This website provides information about getting health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including:
- whether or not you must get health insurance
- what the available plans cover
- how much coverage will cost
- how to sign up for a plan
- how to get help if you need it.
To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in Massachusetts:
1. You are legally required to have health insurance unless you qualify for an exemption.
The Affordable Care Act requires you to enroll in a health insurance plan unless you qualify for an exemption from the law. You must report whether you have coverage -- or whether you are exempt -- when you file your taxes in April.
To learn whether your current health plan satisfies the requirements of the Affordable Care Act or to find out whether you qualify for an exemption, see Do I Need to Get Obamacare in Massachusetts?
2. Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance plans runs from November 1, 2017 to January 23, 2018.
For 2018 health plans, Massachusetts open enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 through January 23, 2018. This is longer than the federal open enrollment deadline.
During open enrollment, you may use Massachusetts Health Connector to choose your health insurance plan, apply for cost-saving subsidies, and get other help you need.
To get coverage beginning January 1, you must enroll by the end of the day on Friday, December 15.
If you are currently uninsured, you can use the state marketplace to compare plans and enroll in a plan that meets your needs.
If you already have health insurance, you will be automatically re-enrolled in your existing plan if it is still available. Even if you can continue in the plan you have now, however, open enrollment provides an opportunity to review your coverage, compare plans, and switch to a new one if you find a better option.
To learn more about enrollment, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Massachusetts.
3. Tax credits are still available to save you money.
In Massachusetts, tax credits or increased eligibility for Medicaid may help you lower your health insurance costs.
Tax credits. Many people who sign up for insurance at Massachusetts Health Connector will be eligible for cost savings. Under the Affordable Care Act, savings are available to those earning less than 400% of the federal poverty level ($98,400 for a family of four in 2017). These subsidies are offered in the form of tax credits that lower your premiums.
In addition, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts offers its own set of subsidies for those who earn less than 300% of the federal poverty level.
You can find out whether you qualify for any of these subsidies when you apply for a plan at Massachusetts Health Connector.
Increased eligibility for Medicaid. If your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in Massachusetts. Because Massachusetts expanded Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare, all Massachusetts citizens or "resident aliens" (citizens of a foreign country who reside permanently in the U.S.) making less than 133% of the federal poverty level ($32,718 for a family of four in 2017) will qualify for MassHealth.
For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Massachusetts.
4. You can get help signing up if you need it.
You may have heard that it will be more difficult to find enrollment help this year. That's because the Trump administration has drastically cut funding for the programs that provide enrollment help in many states. The good news is that Massachusetts doesn't rely on federal funding for its outreach and enrollment assistance programs so you still have many options for free help.
For the help resources available to you, see Get Help Finding a Health Insurance Plan in Massachusetts.
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