Open enrollment for 2020 is here! The good news is that premiums are going down for certain customers and more insurers are coming on board in states that use the Federal Health Insurance Exchange platform, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
If you've never signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov, we're going to walk you through the process.
Open Enrollment 2020 Is Here: What You Need to Know
Don’t have health coverage? HealthCare.gov can help you get a plan in place at a price you can hopefully afford.
“The average premium for the second lowest cost silver plan on HealthCare.gov for a 27-year-old will drop by 4 percent for the 2020 coverage year,” CMS reports.
Meanwhile, CMS also says that consumers in some states like Delaware, Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, Oklahoma and Utah will see double-digit premium declines of 10% or more for that benchmark policy. But that does not mean that prices will be going down for everyone. More on that later…
What You Need to Know About Open Enrollment 2020
- Open enrollment is from November 1, 2019, to December 15, 2019
- This platform can help you get health insurance if you're uninsured
- 20 more insurers will be writing policies in 2020 vs. 2019
- Sign up at HealthCare.gov
Table of contents
- When Is Open Enrollment?
- Who Can Use HealthCare.gov?
- How Do I Sign Up for Health Insurance?
- What Do I Need to Know About Health Care Subsidies?
- What If I Miss the Deadline?
- Sample Rate Quote Comparison
When Is Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment for 2020 begins November 1, 2019, and runs through December 15, 2019. Elections you make for coverage during this period will begin on January 1, 2020.
Who Can Use HealthCare.gov?
HealthCare.gov is available to anyone who doesn’t have health insurance through work or one of these programs:
- Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
- Any other source that offers qualifying health coverage
Additionally, you may qualify to use HealthCare.gov if you have the option of insurance through work but find it unaffordable. However, we should note that your company's plan must fail to meet a strictly defined affordability standard if this is your situation.
How Do I Sign Up for Health Insurance?
Shopping on HealthCare.gov during open enrollment 2020 is easy. Just go to the website and enter the following information:
- ZIP Code
- Details about your household, including marital status and number of dependents
- Your age and gender
- Age and gender of your dependents, if any
- Estimated household income for 2020
HealthCare.gov will tell you if you or any of your dependents may be eligible for coverage through Medicaid, CHIP or a similar program.
You’ll also learn what health care subsidies you qualify for, if any.
Finally, if you’ve got insurance through HealthCare.gov last year, the website also gives you the option to enter your current 14-character Plan ID.
By doing that, HealthCare.gov will highlight your 2019 plan when you compare plans for the new year. This is helpful, but not necessary.
What Do I Need to Know About Health Care Subsidies?
Certain people will qualify for a premium tax credit based on their income and family size. To qualify for the tax credit, your estimated income must be between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level based on household size.
Once you qualify for this health care subsidy, you have the option to use all, some or none of tax credit to lower your monthly premium.
“If you use more advance payments of the tax credit than you qualify for based on your final yearly income, you must repay the difference when you file your federal income tax return,” HealthCare.gov notes.
The reverse also holds true. If you opt to pay your monthly premium without using the tax credit you qualify for, you'll get a refund of the amount you didn't use when you file your taxes.
What If I Miss the Deadline?
If you miss the December 15 deadline for open enrollment 2020, there is a special enrollment period. Only certain life events will qualify you for special enrollment:
- Losing health coverage
- Getting married
- Having a baby
- Adopting a child
If any of those things happen to you, you’ll have 60 days after the event to get yourself enrolled on Healthcare.gov.
Should you miss that 60-day window, you’ll have to until the next open enrollment period.
Sample Rate Quote Comparison
We ran our own numbers to see how certain 2019 premiums compared to the newly announced 2020 premiums. Here’s what our numbers show for our hypothetical shopper:
- Profile: 48, female, no children, no tobacco use
- Location: Cobb County, GA
- Estimated income: $40,000
- Estimated premium tax credit: $218/month
* Include dental coverage
As you can see, the top three policies for 2020 are a bit more expensive than they were in 2019 for our hypothetical applicant. That’s why it’s important to know that even though premiums will go down slightly for some people, that is not the case across the board.
Also keep in mind that quotes will vary greatly from person to person based on a variety of factors. That’s why you need to do your own comparison shopping.
With open enrollment 2020 upon us, now is the time to start thinking about getting health insurance if you need a policy. And with some premiums going down and more insurers coming on board to offer policies, there’s never been a better time.
More Health Insurance Stories on Clark.com:
- Here's Why You Might Get Money Back From Your Health Insurer This Year
- Don't Make This Big Mistake When Shopping Your Prescriptions
- 10 Ways to Save on Prescription Drugs
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