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ACA Open Enrollment 11/1 - 12/15: 9 Things You Need to Know and How to Choose a Plan

ACA 2018
Margesson, Jane

Would you like to participate in a live town hall forum to ask an ACA Open Enrollment question? 

On Thursday, December 6 th from 6-7PM, AARP Maine is hosting a live tele-town hall about ACA Open Enrollment.  The event features Kate Ende, Consumers Assistance Program Manager at Consumers for Affordable Health Care, who will explain the basics and answer questions live during the call. Register here:

9 Things You Need to Know About ACA Enrollment and How to Choose a Health Insurance Plan

Download our printable flyer:  ACA 2018 Open Enrollment Flyer MAINE

1. When to apply: The marketplace open enrollment begins on Nov. 1, 2018
and ends on Dec. 15, 2018.

2. Who should apply? The Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance
Marketplace (also called Obamacare) is where people who do not have health
care coverage through their job or a government program, such as Medicare
or Medicaid, purchase health insurance.

3. How do I find a plan and where do I apply:

Online: The best place to start is at That is where the majority of Americans in the individual market will shop for a plan.

In person: Many nonprofit and community organizations have trained individuals, known as “navigators” or “assisters”, to help you apply for
coverage at no cost. Call 1-855-806-7333 to find a navigator near you.

By telephone: You can also call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 and apply over the phone. It accepts calls seven
days a week, 24 hours a day. Remember, you can get plan estimates and learn about your coverage options before you enroll by visiting or by calling 1-800-965-7476.

4. What do the plans cost? The cost depends on your income. During Open Enrollment, you can explore health plans that offer a variety of options to
meet your health needs within your budget. Working with an assister can help you determine which plan will be best for you.

5. I’ve heard premiums are going to be higher than last year. Is that  true? Even though insurance companies have raised premiums this year,
most people will be protected from these increases, as long as they shop around. Even if you get a letter from your insurance company saying your plan
will be much more expensive next year, don’t panic! The price shown in the letter is usually not accurate. You can find estimates for how much plans will
cost you by visiting or calling 1-800-965-7476. There are new companies and plans available this year and existing
plans may have changed, so it is important that you explore your options to make sure you get the best plan for you.

Please note that if you earn too much to qualify for federal financial assistance, you are apt to find your premium has increased. The amount of increase will vary widely by state and by plan. You can find out how much your premium is going up at

6. How do I prove my eligibility for the subsidy? You’ll need to provide detailed information on the application, including:
• Social Security number
• Birth dates and home addresses for all individuals who will be applying for
coverage under the plan
• Name of employer and income information for every member of your
household, even if they aren’t all applying for coverage
• Estimated household income

7. What are the different types of plans? The marketplace plans fall into three categories:
Bronze – Lowest monthly premium, highest out-of-pocket cost, very high
Silver – The most popular plan. Moderate premiums, moderate out-of-pocket
costs, deductibles are lower than Bronze plan.
Gold – High monthly premiums, lower out-of-pocket costs, low deductibles.

There is also a catastrophic plan, which includes all the benefits required by the ACA, including free preventive care. These plans carry low monthly premiums and very high deductibles. But they are only available to individuals under the age of 30 and to those who get an exemption from the marketplace because, for example, they cannot afford coverage any other way. You can find out more about the various types of plans at

8. What if I’m already enrolled in a marketplace plan? If you don’t do anything by Dec. 15, 2018 you will be automatically renewed in your current plan. If your plan is no longer available, the marketplace will enroll you in the most similar plan.

9. Does it pay to shop around for a plan? Yes, because there have been many changes in the 2018 plans and some insurers have left the marketplace. In addition, please be aware that in 2019, your doctor may no longer be in the plan’s network. Premiums also vary from year to year.

Download our printable flyer:  ACA 2018 Open Enrollment Flyer MAINE

Marketplace Call Center:
Find a local assister:

You can also call Consumers for Affordable Health Care (CAHC) with your Open Enrollment questions.  Call CAHC's Consumer Assistance Helpline at 1-800-965-7476 or go to for more information.


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