What you need to know about the 2018 open enrollment period.

1. What is open enrollment and when it is?

Open enrollment is the only period of time when you can add, change, or cancel your healthcare coverage. For 2018 coverage in the individual market, the enrollment period is from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017* and will go into effect on January 1, 2018. Because of the Affordable Care Act, you can sign up for healthcare coverage in the individual marketplace only during an open enrollment period, unless have a qualifying event during the year.

*Colorado’s open enrollment is from November 1, 2017 to January 12, 2018 with coverage taking effect on February 1, 2018.

2. What changes can you make during open enrollment?

Now is the time to renew, alter, or add healthcare plans. If a dependent graduated to their own healthcare plan in 2017, you can remove them during the 2018 enrollment period. Another example would be changing your coverage from a Bronze to a Silver healthcare plan.

3. What are qualifying events?

A qualifying event allows you to make changes to your healthcare coverage. Such events are birth or adoption of a child (dependent), marriage, becoming a United States citizen, divorce, and death.

4. What is COBRA?

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), allows you to continue to purchase health insurance for up to 18 months due to a loss of employment or termination of employer-sponsored coverage. If you are without coverage or under COBRA, open enrollment is the only time for you to add healthcare coverage for the 2018 year.

5. Are there penalties for not having healthcare coverage?

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, you have to pay a fee if you do not have healthcare coverage in 2017, but could afford it. The fee is called the individual shared responsibility penalty and is calculated in two different ways. This fee is either 2.5% of household income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child. Whichever is the higher of these two option, is the amount will have to pay for the months that you are not covered. The cost is calculated in your income tax return.

6. Which Aliera Healthcare membership is right for you?