How to Enroll and Save on Affordable Health Insurance Through Get Covered Illinois

By Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., ACCESS Media Relations Specialist
December 2, 2016

 

 

We know shopping for health insurance can be a daunting task. That’s why we want to ensure that you get advice about enrollment, select the right plan and understand all the specifics. 

Whether you’re getting coverage for the first time or shopping around for a new health insurance plan, here are the facts that you need to know to help you save time and money, and most importantly, get you covered.

The Affordable Care Act

Since 2010, the Affordable Care Act has worked to make health care more affordable, accessible and the best choice for families, seniors, businesses and young graduates. Open Enrollment for 2017 coverage through Get Covered Illinois, the official Illinois health marketplace, continues through January 31, 2017. So there’s still plenty of time to get yourself covered.

In order to ensure that you are covered by the start of the year, you’ll need to enroll by December 15, 2016, for coverage starting January 1, 2017.

Steps you need to take

When shopping for health insurance, it’s important to look at the specifics of your coverage and provider networks. Make sure you look carefully at the total amount you might be responsible for paying out of pocket with each type of plan. This is something that may be overlooked, and it’s an important step to ensure that you save both time and money.

The amount of your monthly premium will depend on your expected household income for the year. More than 8 out of 10 people who apply are eligible to save, and most can find plans priced between $50 and $100 per month (after accounting for their premium tax credit). For those who actively re-enroll, to incur the best savings, many have switched to a different plan and have saved on average $43 per month, or more than $500 a year, after tax credits.

For those who don’t currently have coverage, it can be easy to get discouraged to sign up if you’re unsure about what kind of coverage you qualify for and how much financial help you’ll get. There’s no need to worry, ACCESS’ Certified Application Counselors offer help with signing up for health plans. By answering a few simple questions, we can provide the information you need to make the right choice for you. We will walk you through the different options and plans available to you and your family, and help you apply for the plan that best fits your needs.

Important Dates

  • December 15, 2016: You must enroll in or change health plans by this date for your health plan to start January 1, 2017.
  • January 1, 2017: 2017 insurance starts if you enrolled or changed plans by December 15.
  • January 31, 2017: Last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Next steps

This year, those who qualify for tax credits, which include more than 70 percent of ACA consumers, will be able to find plans for less than $75 per month. HHS.gov encourages taking a fresh look at your options, because shopping for a better deal can pay off. This year, the average consumer will be able to choose from 30 plans, with an average of 10 plans per issuer. More than 7 in 10 current ACA consumers could save money by choosing a new plan, as opposed to re-enrolling in their current plan.

If you don’t currently have coverage, requirements for enrollment are simple. You must live in the United States or be a U.S. citizen or national. There are four ways to apply: online, by phone, with in-person help like ACCESS’ Certified Application Counselors or with a paper application.

“People still want and still need affordable, quality coverage for 2017, and HealthCare.gov still offers it. The Affordable Care Act is now woven into the fabric of our nation. And a strong open enrollment this year will make that even more true," says U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. That is why ACCESS will continue to provide education and help consumers enroll in health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Sources:

http://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/secretary/speeches/2016/white-house-open-enrollment-4-kickoff.html

https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/one-page-guide-to-the-marketplace/

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/11/03/500102120/hunting-for-a-health-plan-for-2017-bronze-may-be-your-best-value