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

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What Maryland Residents Need to Know About Obamacare



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What Maryland Residents Need to Know About Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has not been repealed.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:

To begin, keep in mind these key points about health insurance in Maryland:

1. For 2018, you are legally required to have health insurance unless you qualify for an exemption. This will change next year.

For 2018, 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.

For 2019, the law will no longer require you to have health coverage. It remains to be seen how this will affect health plans offered under the Affordable Care Act.

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 Maryland?

2. Open enrollment has ended for 2018 health care plans, but you can still get health insurance if you qualify for a special enrollment period.

For 2018, Maryland's open enrollment period ended on December 22. This means that, unless you qualify for an exception, you can't obtain health insurance through Maryland Health Connection until the 2019 open enrollment period begins in the fall of 2018.

To find out more, including ways you might still get covered, see What Happens If I Missed the Maryland Obamacare Enrollment Deadline?

3. Tax credits are still available to save you money.

Many people who sign up for insurance at the Maryland exchange will be eligible for cost savings. For 2018 health insurance plans, savings are available in the form of tax credits to help you lower your premiums.

In addition, if your income is very low, you may qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid in Maryland.

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

4. Trump's cancellation of subsidies for insurers may not hit your pocketbook in 2018.

On October 12, 2017, the Trump administration ended subsidies for insurers called "cost-sharing reductions." These payments to insurance companies allowed them to reduce deductibles and co-payments for Americans with incomes between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level.

In the long run, this decision could destabilize the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplaces. For 2018 coverage, however, many people's pocketbooks may escape direct effects because Maryland Health Connection tax credits will increase to cover the damages.

If you do NOT qualify for tax credits through Maryland Health Connection, you may get a better deal by purchasing an insurance plan directly from an insurance company. Be sure to compare the costs of plans available to you through Maryland Health Connection to those available directly from insurers in your area.

An insurance agent or broker may be the best bet for sorting out your options. To find one, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in Maryland.

5. 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 Maryland doesn't rely on federal funding for its outreach and enrollment assistance programs so you still have many options for free help.

In Maryland, the average premium increase for individual plans is 33 percent for 2018. Because of this, it makes especially good sense to get help finding the best plan and making sure you're getting any subsidy help for which you qualify.

For the help resources available to you, see Get Help Finding a Health Insurance Plan in Maryland.


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