Health Care Act

Health insurance deadline is fast approaching. Here’s what you need to know.

A screengrab of the healthcare.gov website on Nov. 16, 2017. The deadline to enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan is Dec. 15.
A screengrab of the healthcare.gov website on Nov. 16, 2017. The deadline to enroll in an Affordable Care Act plan is Dec. 15.

N.C. residents have less than a month to pick a health insurance plan through the federal exchange by Dec. 15, if they want 2018 coverage.

The Affordable Care Act plans cover those who do not get health insurance through a job or through a federal program like Medicaid or Medicare.

How to get help

People who want assistance enrolling in a www.healthcare.gov plan can get free help from ACA insurance experts, called navigators.

You can call: 855-733-3711 or visit www.getcoveredamerica.org/connector.

Penalty for the uninsured

Despite confusion about the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, the insurance mandate is still law.

If you do not have health insurance in 2018, then it will cost you. Uninsured residents will pay either 2.5 percent of their household income or $695 for each uninsured adult or $347.50 for each uninsured child up to $2,085 – whichever cost is higher.

Rising premiums

North Carolina approved a 14.1 percent average premium increase for Blue Cross and Blue Shield 2018 Affordable Care Act health insurance plans.

Letters sent out by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announcing 2018 premiums alarmed some N.C. residents. Some showed the high cost with some premiums more than doubling. But those letters did not include an update in added financial help. The financial assistance that 90 percent of ACA plan customers receive will also increase, offsetting the added cost.

Free plans aren’t always best

Some N.C. residents will be able to pick health insurance plans that have no monthly premiums, but those “free” plans could come at a price.

The plans often have steep deductibles, that someone must pay before the plan begins covering health costs. The plans could be the preferred option for those who do not plan to visit the doctor often. However, if someone is likely to max out their deductibles, the plans could be more expensive.

Cassie Cope: 704-358-5926, @cassielcope

  Comments