Whether you’re one of the roughly 35 million Americans enrolled in Affordable Care Act-related coverage, or will be applying for a health insurance plan through the marketplace for the first time, it’s time to think about your coverage for 2023. With the open enrollment period quickly approaching, here’s what to know about applying for Obamacare.
What is Obamacare?
As a quick refresher, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the health care reform law enacted in March 2010 under the Obama administration, and is also referred to as “Obamacare.”
In addition to expanding Medicaid, the law also made health insurance more available and accessible, allowing people to purchase coverage through the marketplace and offering lower-cost plans to households with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.
When is open enrollment?
The Obamacare open enrollment period begins on Tuesday, November 1 (one week from today) and continues through January 15, 2023. If you plan on purchasing health insurance coverage through the ACA for 2023, that’s the time to do it.
Of course, situations can arise over the course of the year that may change your health insurance needs, so if you experience what the government considers a “life-changing” event, you may be eligible for special enrollment outside open enrollment dates. Some examples of life-changing events include: You or someone in your household getting married, dying, or becoming a parent, as well as if you move to a new ZIP code, lose your existing health insurance, become a U.S. citizen, or are released from incarceration.
How to apply for Obamacare
Before anything else, you need to figure our if you’re eligible to purchase a health insurance plan through the ACA. You can do this by going to healthcare.gov/screener and entering your ZIP code. Certain states have their own health insurance websites, so you may be redirected there.
From there, you’ll answer a few questions about your income and the members of your household, and then find out whether you qualify to apply for coverage at the full price or a reduced cost. As of this writing, the screener page is still set up to see if people qualify for a special enrollment period rather than the upcoming enrollment for 2023, but that should change on or before November 1. For now, there are a few things you can do to get ready, including looking over the types of health insurance plans available through the marketplace, learning how to estimate your income for your application, and gathering the documents you’ll need.