En español | Today is the last day in the nationwide Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period for 2018. If you don’t have health insurance through your employer or a government program, you only have until midnight Pacific time ( 3 a.m. Saturday Eastern time) to sign up for coverage for for next year.
If you live in these nine states or the District of Columbia, you have a little more time:
- California — Jan. 31
- Colorado — Jan. 12
- Connecticut — Dec. 22
- District of Columbia — Jan. 31
- Maryland — Dec. 22
- Massachusetts — Jan. 23
- Minnesota — Jan. 14
- New York — Jan. 31
- Rhode Island — Dec. 31
- Washington — Jan. 15
The closer it gets to the deadline, the more crowded the healthcare.gov website and the state health care marketplace sites will become. And it will be more difficult to reach the Marketplace Call Center — 800-318-2596 — where you can get your questions answered and apply over the phone. The center accepts calls seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Even if you have a plan you’re happy with, health care experts advise you to shop around to see if you can get a better deal. Health plans change from year to year. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 85 percent of individuals who buy insurance through the marketplace are eligible for government subsidies to help pay for premiums and about 60 percent also qualify for cost-sharing subsidies, which help pay for deductibles, copays and other out-of-pocket expenses. So it makes sense for all consumers to go to healthcare.gov and determine if they qualify for these subsidies.
The health law requires most Americans to have health insurance or face a fine. For 2018 the penalty for not having insurance is 2.5 percent of your adjusted gross income or $695, whichever is greater.
Here is some more information to help you comparison shop: