By Ming Richie
Healthcare is consistently the number one issue on voters’ minds, and it’s easy to understand why. Confusion surrounding terminology, access, costs and players has most of us struggling to navigate through complicated waters and just stay afloat, as happy and healthy as we can afford. We are excited to see the 2020 Democratic candidates heavily debating possible improvements and solutions to the American healthcare system, to be implemented when we take back the Oval Office. But until then, as we watch the current administration try to roll back or diminish anything President Obama touched (examples: weakening individual state healthcare markets, cutting advertising costs to educate the public on open enrollment, and proposing his own Trumpcare plan which was shot down by his own Senate Republicans), we need to stay alert and be proactive.
We’ve done the research for you – here’s what you need to know about the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” Open Enrollment for 2020 coverage:
- WHAT: Open enrollment is the annual period during which Americans can enroll, re-enroll or change their healthcare plan in the individual and family market, as well as apply for cost assistance. These 45 days are the only days of the year you can sign up for and receive comprehensive health coverage with the benefits and protections of the ACA. If you miss open enrollment, there are a few options but most have caveats like special enrollment for “qualifying life events” (like changing your job), short term coverage which limits coverage, or employer-based coverage for which you need a job that provides insurance. Bottom line, better to take the time to understand your needs and just get it done in the next month and a half!
- WHEN: Open Enrollment starts November 1, 2019 and closes December 15, 2019. Your coverage will start January 1, 2020.
- WHERE: HealthCare.gov or your state’s official marketplace.
- EXCEPT: California: we’re special! Our Health Insurance Marketplace is called Covered California. Open Enrollment started October 15, 2019 and closes January 15, 2020. But you still MUST apply by December 15, 2019 for your coverage to begin January 2, 2020 – visit CoveredCA.com to shop now.
- HOW MUCH? How much you pay depends on how much money you make. You cannot be charged more or discriminated against based on health status, race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. You may receive cost assistance based on income – these subsidies are only available during open enrollment and through your state’s health insurance marketplace (see this Estimate Subsidy Calculator).
What to do:
First, enroll yourself and your family in healthcare coverage for 2020.
Second, spread the word to everyone you know! Open Enrollment is November 1 to December 15, 2019. We’re all in this together.
Ming Richie (IG @mingonthemove) is a basic millennial, having quit her corporate Bay Area job to travel the world, soul search and transition to a more meaningful career. She loves everything avocado, yoga, green tea and women’s empowerment, while of course fully maintaining that she is a unique, outstanding individual who can change the world.