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How to Enroll in Obamacare: Checklist for 2018 Coverage

The 2018 Open Enrollment Period ran from November 1st, 2017 through December 15, 2017. You can still sign up during a Special Enrollment Period.

September 18, 2017 - By Colleen McGuire - read

If you’re confused about how to enroll in Obamacare, you’re not alone. Now that Obamacare’s Open Enrollment Period is over, you’ll need to sign up using a Special Enrollment Period or apply for short-term health insurance.

This year, unlike previous years, the Open Enrollment Period was much shorter, and the conflicting news around the stability of the Affordable Care Act put people into high tension. Rest assured, though, that Obamacare-compliant plans will still be available during this Open Enrollment Period for healthcare in 2018 and beyond.

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What You Need to Apply for or Auto-Renew a Health Insurance Plan

Open enrollment for 2018 health insurance coverage ran from November 1st, 2017, through December 15, 2017 (several states had additional time). During that time you could choose a new Obamacare-qualified health plan or, depending on your state’s exchange, re-enroll in your current coverage. However, you can still chose an Obamacare plan during a special enrollment period.

Once you’ve selected the best health insurance plan for you and your family, the difficult part is done. Make the application and enrollment process as quick and painless as possible by having the necessary documents and information on hand.

Obamacare Application and Enrollment checklist

If you are changing health plans or applying for health insurance (also known as minimum essential coverage) for the first time—on or away from your state’s exchange—gather the following:

  1. Social Security numbers and birth dates for each applicant
  2. Income-related documents for all applicants
    1. Federal W-2 form
    2. Recent pay stubs
    3. Previous year’s tax return
  3. Policy numbers for each applicant’s current health insurance coverage
  4. Information about employer-sponsored health plans for which you or your family members are eligible, whether or not you are enrolled in this coverage
  5. Banking information to pay the first month’s premium

Automatic Re-enrollment Checklist

Many health insurance plans will automatically renew each year. If your plan is set for auto-renewal, you will receive notification, including 2018 premium rates and other details from your health insurance company.

Here is what you need to do before auto-renewal occurs:

  1. Make sure the plan you have still works for your and your family:
    • Does the 2017 premium, deductible and benefits still fit your healthcare needs and household budget?
    • Will you still have in-network access to the same providers?
    • Are your current prescription medications on the 2017 drug formulary?
  2. Report income and household size changes to your state’s health insurance exchange, if you receive subsidies—if you fail to do so, you may wind up owing the IRS money when you file your 2016 taxes or losing out on a larger subsidy.

Subsidies will renew as well, unless the income verification documents you supplied when you applied for 2017 coverage do not match the income you reported at that time.

You can opt out of auto-renewal and purchase a different health insurance coverage from your state’s exchange or in the private marketplace. Keep in mind that only state-based and federally facilitated exchange plans qualify for premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies.

Taking the Next Steps

It’s important to know all your healthcare options before deciding on your health insurance coverage.

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To Get Health Insurance Quotes:

Search our database of Obamacare plans at HealthCare.com.

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