Everything You Need to Know About 2018 ACA Open Enrollment

clipboard with health insurance on it
Tori Marsh
Tori Marsh, MPH, is on the Research Team at GoodRx, and is the resident expert on drug pricing and savings.
Posted on

The sign-up period for the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as Obamacare) is upon us, and enrolling is going to be a little more challenging than years past. The enrollment period is now only six weeks – until Dec. 15 – and the Healthcare.gov website will periodically go dark throughout this span. What’s more, there’s less funding this year for ACA advertisements and enrollment counselors.

While these changes could make it more difficult for you to sign up, we’re here to help you save. Here are some helpful tips on enrollment, and information on how GoodRx can help cut your costs.

When do I sign up?

This year, the enrollment window is shorter than evercut in half from last year. For states that use the federal marketplace, 2017 enrollment runs from November 1st to December 15th.

But: states that have their own marketplace can set their own enrollment dates. So if you live in California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Washington, check your state’s marketplace to confirm your exact enrollment dates and sign-up.

Also, know that the Healthcare.gov website will be offline the night of Wednesday, Nov 1, and then every Sunday, except for December 10th, from midnight to noon eastern standard time.

What does this mean for you? With a shorter enrollment period and more blackout dates, it’s more important than ever to enroll early!

What is special enrollment?

The ACA has a program that allows individuals who have undergone a significant life event to enroll in coverage outside of the open enrollment window.

You may qualify for special enrollment if anyone in your household has: married, had a baby, been released from jail, divorced, or died in the past 60 days. If you have experienced any of these events, you will have a 60-day window to enroll in Obamacare, no matter when it happened. Read more to find out if you qualify here.

What’s changing in 2018?

Tips for enrollees

How can GoodRx help?

Just because a drug is covered by your insurance, doesn’t mean your plan will make it affordable. But we have some good news, you can use a GoodRx discount instead of your prescription. On average, GoodRx coupon prices beat insurance co-pays 70% of the time in 2017. GoodRx coupons can be especially important if you have a plan with high deductibles or a strict formulary. If you don’t already know your co-pay for your prescription, try calling your insurance or using their web portal to estimate your cost.

When using GoodRx instead of your insurance, the amount you pay will not count towards your deductible. However, you can always contact your insurance company to see if they can apply your purchase to your deductible. Some plans will allow you to submit receipts for potential reimbursement or credit towards your deductible.

Need more than a coupon? GoodRx can also help you find savings tips, suggestions for alternative less-expensive drugs, and information on assistance programs and manufacturer savings.

Filed under