Obamacare Open Enrollment FAQs

In February, the Obama administration had already announced the open enrollment dates for the year 2016. Obamacare had been made into a law since 2010 and many Americans have experienced the benefits brought about by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). However, there have been some questions raised by consumers about the open enrollment period.

Here are some FAQs you might find useful:

What Is Open Enrollment Period?
Open enrollment period is the time given to individuals to change or renew their existing insurance plans, sign-up and get subsidies on plans under Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

What Is The Difference Between The ACA And PPACA?
Actually, ACA or Affordable Care Act and PPACA or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are one and the same. The former is simply the short version of the latter. These two are also known as Obamacare?

When Are The Open Enrollment Dates?
For 2014, the open enrollment dates started from October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014 while for the year 2015, open enrollment period was from Nov 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

What Does Special Enrollment Period Mean?
Special enrollment period is the time given to those who were not able to enroll within the open enrollment period and are qualified for the special enrollment period.

How Can I Qualify For a Special Enrollment Period?
If you have undergone major life changes like giving birth, getting married, moving to another location or losing your health insurance cover, you can qualify provided you enroll 60 days after a major event in your life.

If I Have Acquired My Insurance Via My Workplace, Can I Also Take Advantage Of The Special Enrollment Period?
For job-based health insurance coverage, you are usually given a window of 30 days.

Can I Still Buy Insurance From The Marketplace If I Don’t Qualify For a Special Enrollment Period?
No. If you were not able to enroll within the prescribed period or you do not qualify, you cannot buy health insurance inside or outside the Marketplace until the next open enrollment period.

Is The Duration For All Special Enrollment Period The Same?
Special enrollment periods vary. In some cases, there can be a window of 120 days while can also be shorter periods, depending on the situation or the kind of event.

I Have Lost My Job And My Health Insurance Coverage As Well. What Happens Next?
If you have lost your insurance coverage following a job loss, divorce, eligibility loss from CHIP or Medicaid, COBRA coverage expiration or you are under your parents plan and you are over 26 years of age, you are qualified for a special enrollment period.

When Is The Open Enrollment Period For 2016?
For the year 2016, the Obama administration set the dates from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016.

If I Enroll On December 16, 2015, Can I Use My Insurance Coverage Right Away?
No, because coverage usually starts a month after. So, if you want to start your coverage on January 1, 2016, it is best to enroll from November 1, 2015 to December 15, 2015.

Do Medicaid And CHIP Have The Same Open Enrollment Dates With Obamacare?
No, both Medicaid and CHIP do not have their own open enrollment dates while Medicare and job-based insurance have their own unique open enrollment dates. Conversely, all private health insurance companies follow the same open enrollment period under Obamacare.

Is There a Chance For The 2016 Open Enrollment Period To Be Extended?
In both 2014 and 2015v open enrollment periods, extensions were allowed. As for the year 2016, it has already been extended and given the turnout of events the last two years, there might be a possibility for an extension.

I Have Been Hearing About Signing-Up And Enrolling. Are These Two The Same?
No, you have to sign up with your state’s marketplace. To be able to enroll, this is what you need to do first. After signing up, you can choose a plan and enroll within the open enrollment dates.

How Do I Sign-Up?
In order to sign-up, you will be asked to create an account. It is important to note that it will take some time for the verification process to get done. It will also take time to choose the right plan and enroll so it is wise to do so the earliest date you can.

How Many Times Do I Need To Enroll?
You will have to enroll annually for Obamacare and do so within the open enrollment period.

If I Was Not Able To Enroll During The Open Enrollment Period, Can I Still Buy Private Health Insurance?
Yes, you may but you might not be protected from paying the fee for not having insurance coverage since you are most likely to get a short term health insurance instead and this is not considered. The only compensation you get is to be covered with insurance in case you get sick.

When Is The Open Enrollment Period For CHIP And Medicaid?
Since both CHIP and Medicaid do not have open enrollment dates, you can enroll at the most convenient time for you. Coverage can also be retroactive up to two months. However, if you enroll during the open enrollment period, it will be more convenient for you.

How Do I Enroll?
You can choose from four options to enroll. You can do it online, do it in person, opt for mailed application or do so over the phone.

If I Or Members Of My Family Enroll For Medicaid Or CHIP, How Can We Do It?
If you or members of your family qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, a representative will get in touch with you for enrollment.

How Would I Know If I Can Shop For Health Insurance Within The Open Enrollment Dates?
People who are uninsured during the period of open enrollment and those who want to change their existing health insurance plans can shop during the open enrollment period. Also, if you think you are qualified for subsidies, you can also take this chance.

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