The Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land, despite work this year in Congress to repeal and replace it. Although a recent tax reform bill passed that included a repeal of the individual mandate, steps remain before that becomes reality. Therefore, for 2018, it remains key that you have health insurance coverage or you will face a fine.
California's Insurance Exchange
Despite efforts to get rid of the insurance exchanges, the Affordable Care Act remains popular. In California, there was a 25 percent increase in the number of people who enrolled on the first day. During the first month of enrollment, there was a 28 percent increase compared to 2017, and 1.2 million people have already renewed for 2018.
Living in California, you enroll in healthcare through the state-run healthcare exchange known as Covered California. This exchange utilizes an active purchaser model, which means that the state negotiates directly with health coverage carriers to create rates and plans that benefit the consumer as much as possible. California's exchange is the only one with standardized health plan requirements for all plans, so all health insurance policies within a certain level have the exact same benefits, other than those that qualify for HSA.
Covered CA Deadlines
Open enrollment 2018 through Covered California began on November 1, 2017. During this period, you can sign up for insurance for the coming year. Once open enrollment ends, you can only sign up for health coverage through the exchange if you have a qualifying life event for a special enrollment period. These include:
- Significant income change
- Moving to a location with different health care options
- Getting married
- Becoming a citizen or member of a federally recognized tribe
- Losing your current health insurance
- Becoming 26 years old
Living in California gives you an extra six weeks to sign up. Unlike other states where the Health and Human Services deadline is December 15, 2017, open enrollment 2018 in California ends on January 31. That means you have until the end of January to sign up and avoid a penalty on your taxes, which can be as much as $2,000 or 2.5 percent of your total tax.
Although you have extra time to enroll, the deadline will get here before you know it. Additionally, if you require coverage beginning on January 1, 2018, you still need to complete your enrollment by December 15, 2017. Therefore, it is important to get your health insurance as soon as possible.
For more information on how to sign up for health coverage, contact us at 707-823-3689. To remain up to date on the latest health coverage news, like us on Facebook, find us on Google+, and subscribe to our blog.