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Didn't Hear About Obamacare Open Enrollment? You're Not Alone

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    As of this writing, there are six days left in the 2019 open enrollment period to receive coverage under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as "Obamacare." If you are sitting around thinking "wait a second, I didn't even know it was open-enrollment season!" just know that you're not alone. What used to be a widely advertised seasonal push is now a largely word-of-mouth campaign in what almost seems a purposeful drive to push down insurance rates.

    Since President Trump has taken office, the advertising budget for Obamacare signup has been slashed by 90% from $100 million in 2016 to less than $10 million a year now. Not just that, but the budget for "navigators," people who help individuals and families sign up for coverage, has been slashed nearly fifty percent.

    I'm trying to avoid getting too overtly political, but I do think this is a shame. It seems like we just can't get over this debate and the people most adversely affected are already struggling just to get by. The least we can do is make it be widely known that you have 45 days to sign up for your health coverage each year and if you miss the deadline then you will have to wait another year before you can get sick again (pun intended).

    So, if you haven't signed up for Obamacare yet, make sure you do it by December 15, 2019. This may be your only notice since you very likely won't be seeing many commercials reminding you about it.

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    That is a shame. I've never understood the logic of open enrollment periods. Or at the very least I have never agreed with it. It should be open year round, anytime in my opinion. And then just put a limit on how long you can go before using it. But beside that, given people have such a small window to sign up every year it does make you wonder how most people would know it's going on at all. Who is even talking about it?

    Maybe employers are? Anyone have experience with that here, where your company is telling you about the open enrollment window for signing up on a yearly basis?

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    JaredS Wrote:

    Since President Trump has taken office, the advertising budget for Obamacare signup has been slashed by 90% from $100 million in 2016 to less than $10 million a year. Not just that, but the budget for "navigators," people who help people sign up for coverage, has been slashed nearly fifty percent.

    Wow. Had no idea. Thanks for the post. I do hope employers are at least alerting people. But what about self-employed people, all the workers that work non-conventional jobs, the gig economy, etc?
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    bryce28 Wrote: Wow. Had no idea. Thanks for the post. I do hope employers are at least alerting people. But what about self-employed people, all the workers that work non-conventional jobs, the gig economy, etc?

    Self-employed individuals (and families) are one of the groups this affects the most. The vast majority of people who work "conventional" jobs have health insurance through their employer. Their "open enrollment" is vastly different than those who obtain their coverage through the marketplace under Obamacare.

    So not only do self-employed people have to (typically) pay more than the average 1099 worker, they also are entirely on their on in figuring out what plan to sign up for and to make sure they sign up for it in time.

    I'm definitely not suggesting we go back to the pre-Obamacare days where anyone can be denied coverage for any reason under the sun, but I do think we need to patch up some holes in the current system to make it better for the millions of Americans who use it.

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    J.K.Logic Wrote: Maybe employers are? Anyone have experience with that here, where your company is telling you about the open enrollment window for signing up on a yearly basis?

    I'm a 1099, but thankfully have health insurance through my wife's employer. Employer based health insurance is vastly different than health insurance purchased on the marketplace because large companies are able to negotiate better terms for their employees and are on a different time schedule than the Obamacare marketplace is.

    Obamacare is more for the tens of millions of Americans who are self-employed or who work for a small (and sometimes even large) business that doesn't offer any health benefits. What many Americans still don't know is that there is a ton of help out there with financial subsidies and even Medicaid for those who qualify. Advertising used to explain that, but many Americans are in the dark about that now.