What Massachusetts Residents Need to Know About Obama Care (the Affordable Care Act or ACA)

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What Massachusetts Residents Need to Know About Obamacare

Update: The deadline for obtaining coverage that begins January 1, 2017 has been extended through the end of the day on Friday, December 23.

Welcome to the fastest way to find out about Obamacare in Massachusetts.

Here, you'll find clear and accurate information about Obamacare, 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, and
  • how to get help if you need it.

To begin, keep in mind these key points about Obamacare in Massachusetts:

1. You must 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 more about what insurance plans meet the requirements of Obamacare or to find out whether you qualify for an exemption, see Do I Need to Get Obamacare in Massachusetts?

2. Open enrollment for 2017 health insurance plans runs from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

For 2017 health plans, open enrollment runs from November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017. During that time, residents of Massachusetts may use the website Massachusetts Health Connector to choose their health insurance plan, apply for cost-saving subsidies, and get other help they need.

To get coverage beginning January 1, you must enroll by December 23.

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 Do I Sign Up for Obamacare in Massachusetts?

3. You may qualify for subsidies that will 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 (about $97,000 for a family of four), and they are offered in the form of tax credits that lower your premiums or reduce your out-of-pocket costs for care.

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 is expanding Medicaid eligibility under Obamacare, more people will qualify for the state’s program -- called MassHealth -- than ever before. All Massachusetts citizens or resident aliens making less than 133% of the federal poverty level (about $33,000 for a family of four) will qualify for MassHealth.

For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Massachusetts.

For an overview of how much health care plans cost under Obamacare, see How Much Does Obamacare Cost in Massachusetts?

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