The 2018 health insurance open enrollment began November 1st and ends December 15th. Here's everything you need to know about this years enrollment.

As imperative as stuffing is to turkey on Thanksgiving, so is health insurance to individuals in America. Health coverage offers assurance if a visit to the physician is required. However, before applying for insurance, there are things you should know, and we have the details.

The 2018 open-enrollment period is here, but what is it?

The time to apply for health insurance has arrived. This time it’s for 2018 and information regarding this period, and its enrollment processes can be reviewed here. Visit HealthCare.Gov, and input your Zip Code. You can then fill out the appropriate application for your region and view exact premium quotes.

Your zip code is required to access pertinent information. Rates vary by county, so this initial portion of the application is required. Applicants can apply for insurance on the phone, online, in person, and also by completing a paper form.

Despite the influx of individuals and their families seeking health coverage, we’re almost sure some befuddled individuals are uncertain of what the open-enrollment period involves. Allow us to explain. This session runs from November 1, 2017, to December 15, 2017, and enables people to enroll in a health insurance plan.

It is during this period that individuals are expected to apply for health insurance. Only people that are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period can apply outside of the specified timeframe. Simply put, if you do not qualify outside of the open-enrollment session, you must move with haste to enroll for health insurance during this time or risk paying out-of-pocket for medical expenses.

More information regarding the complete process for the open-enrollment session is found in this YouTube video. It clarifies in well-defined detail what people should do during this year’s registration process for health care coverage.

How much money have Americans been spending on health coverage?

The average American spends quite a large sum of money on health insurance coverage. In fact, according to National Health Expenditures 2015 Highlights from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the average American spent about $9,990 per person, which reached a total of $3.2 trillion in 2015.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also posited that during 2015, spending growth for private health insurance, hospital care, clinical services, and more fueled rapid growth in healthcare spending. This also continued strong growth in Medicaid and retail prescription drug spending. Overall there was a stark rise in health care spending from 2014, which was evident in 2015.

In 2017, spending has not decreased. Individuals continue to pay out a copious amount of money on health insurance. It’s projected that health spending will continue to rise 1.2 percent more rapidly than Gross Domestic Product per year. However, premiums play a substantial role in the elevation of health expenditures.

Are premiums going up? What does this mean for Americans?

Premiums for health insurance have been on the rise for some time. According to the National Conference of State Legislature, premiums were “up three percent from 2015 for an average family coverage with workers on average paying $5,714 towards the cost of their coverage.”

Although largely impacting the companies, before financial assistance from ACA, an increase of 25 percent was very prevalent for people purchasing insurance on an exchange or private market plan for 2017.

However, with the uncertainty of the future for ACA/Obamacare, Americans can anticipate paying top dollar for health insurance as subsidy remains in question. Without the assistance of such funding, individuals can expect to pay higher fees for medical coverage.

The best advice for anyone seeking to receive health insurance coverage is take your time to shop around. It appears as though avoiding the increase in health insurance premiums is impossible. The only solution is to search for different rates to see which one is best suited to your needs.

Affordable Care Act/Obamacare – what has the outcome been for insurers and individuals below the poverty level?

The Affordable Care Act/Obamacare has been criticized mainly for its role in the increase in health insurance premiums. Medical care expenses in 2015 saw a significant increase in comparison to 2014. This adjustment was primarily attributed to the ACA, which provided uninsured Americans premium tax credits but specifically for households with incomes meeting or succeeding the federal poverty level.

Individuals making an income of $12,000, which is considered below the federal poverty level, in 19 states will find their eligibility for financial assistance under Obamacare and Medicaid null. Unfortunately, individuals living in the states that have rejected the expansion of Obamacare will find themselves in a grim situation, as coverage for such low income remains utterly unattainable.

However, there is good news for those who make an income ranging between 100 percent and 138 percent of the poverty level. They can expect to receive a subsidy for the purchase of health insurance in the Obamacare exchange, which offers a range of regulated health care plans by insurers.

Although some people can benefit from the advantage of ACA/Obamacare, the sad reality is that those who are lacking finances suffer immensely. Those who don’t have the same financial means as the wealthy are likely to endure the hardships of perpetual sicknesses; merely due to the lack of funding.

Due to the high expenses extending from the health coverage for those at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, many insurers have chosen to abandon Obamacare. In certain states, only a handful of insurers remain in support of it. For example, in Alabama, just one insurer remains a part of the Affordable Care Act, and that is Blue Cross Blue Shield.

In Iowa, one of the states that have been accepting of the Medicaid expansion has still suffered the loss of insurers. This loss has dramatically affected the services provided by Obamacare and plans are likely to be absent from the exchange in 2017.

How has ACA/Obamacare changed health insurance?

Before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies were more autonomous in regards to who they could accept for coverage. However, with the execution of Obamacare, insurers were expected to be less stringent with their policies. They were not permitted to screen clients before their acceptance to see how healthy they were.

However, after Obamacare was legislated, many states continued to offer plans that were not yielding to the edicts of Obamacare. Companies that were part of these plans were subjected to the assessments set out by these insurers. If considered too sick or expensive to maintain they were rejected. Plus, rates were raised on those who became ill while insured.

Under the Affordable Care Act, hiking of costs is not permitted. Individuals who were exposed to the increase in rates, and banned from plans set out by insurers, blamed Obamacare. Many believe that non-Obamacare plans tarnished the group of individuals seeking coverage and under the Affordable Care Act.

The healthcare industry is marked by so many changes—how do Americans navigate through these deviations?

According to CNN’s report, President Trump has been pulling apart Obamacare in an attempt to bring cost-effective health care services to more Americans. The goal is to implement policies that will increase the concept of choice and lower fees.

Both individuals and employers can expect to benefit from this repeal. The changes are expected to take six months to come into effect.

Despite the many changes that have pervaded the healthcare Industry, medical insurance remains significant for Americans.

Here you can view different rates, compare them and select the best option.

The difficulty that arises from not buying health insurance is paying for health expenditures from your own money. Choosing to pay out-of-pocket can be costly and will add up over time.

Summary

Not only does health insurance offer assurance, but it also enables individuals to pay for care. Treatments and care are pricy and waiting for the appointed time to purchase insurance is not sound.

In the healthcare industry, change is inevitable and cannot be avoided. Make sure to shop with care so you chose the right options for yourself and family.

Read more

Related Tools

About the author

Chris Muller picture
Total Articles: 163
Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter.

Article comments

We invite readers to respond with questions or comments. Comments may be held for moderation and will be published according to our comment policy. Comments are the opinions of their authors; they do not represent the views or opinions of Money Under 30. Comments have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser, nor are they reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.
1 comment
Ashish says:

What if something major happens in your life outside of the Open Enrollment Period and you need to buy or change your health insurance?