Obamacare Is Not Dead! What Tennessee Residents Need to Know About Obamacare for 2018
Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance plans begins November 1, 2017 and ends December 15, 2017.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, has not been repealed.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 Tennessee:
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 Tennessee?
2. Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance plans runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.
For 2018 health plans, open enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017. That's only half the time of previous open enrollment periods, so act promptly to be sure you are covered.
Beginning October 25, you can visit HealthCare.gov to "window shop" for plans, comparing costs and benefits to get a jump on choosing your best option. Then, during open enrollment, you can purchase your plan and apply for cost-saving subsidies.
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 Tennessee.
3. Tax credits are still available to save you money.
Many people who sign up for insurance at the Tennessee 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 Tennessee.
For more information, see Ways to Save Money on Obamacare in Tennessee.
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 HealthCare.gov tax credits will increase to cover the damages.
If you do NOT qualify for tax credits through HealthCare.gov, 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 HealthCare.gov 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 Tennessee.
5. You can get help signing up if you need it.
This year, it may be more difficult to find enrollment help if you need it. The Trump administration has drastically cut funding for the programs that provide enrollment help. But that doesn't mean you have to fend for yourself.
For the resources available to you, see Get Help Finding a Health Insurance Plan in Tennessee.
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