2018 Marketplace Open Enrollment: Just Around the Corner

By Mary Kuhlman, Nebraska News Service

Open enrollment for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace begins in just three weeks – on Nov. 1 – and Nebraskans looking for health coverage are encouraged to prepare now. 

The enrollment period for 2018 plans is just 45 days, down from 90 days last year. 

There are health care navigators throughout the state, including Ashley Frevert with Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, who can help people evaluate their options.

"It's a good practice to review your options every year,” she states. “If you have a marketplace plan, you should also review your application from the previous year and make updates. 

“And if you are looking to enroll, change your plan, there are options available next year, both on and off the exchange."

Currently, Medica is the only insurer offering federal marketplace plans in the state. 

As of last year, more than 84,000 Nebraskans were covered by individual and family plans through the federal insurance marketplace. 

Frevert says those applying for marketplace coverage should have copies ready of their latest tax return, proof of income and current coverage documentation. 

She adds those who don't have health insurance, whether through an employer or the marketplace, will still face a fine at tax time. 

"Current legislation has not changed,” she points out. “So having insurance is your best option. If you want to avoid that tax penalty, it should be about the same as it was last year."

Frevert adds navigators are a good resource for people who have questions about their coverage, given the overall uncertainty about the future of the health care law. 

"Be diligent in finding the correct answers that you need to be comfortable with your knowledge about the state of health care in America,” she advises. “If you are looking for answers that are factual and neutral in regards to the Affordable Care Act, please contact a navigator."

Navigators can also help eligible Nebraskans apply for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program. 

Open enrollment for federal marketplace plans runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. 

Feature photo: Ashley Frevert, field navigator, Northeast Nebraska Community Action Partnership, Inc., Pender, Nebraska | Photo by Jordan Rasmussen, Center for Rural Affairs