PSA: Sign-up

Tonight Tomorrow night at midnight is the deadline on to sign up for coverage that starts January 1.

If you are already in a plan for 2016 and do nothing, you will be auto-assigned to a plan that (hopefully) is similar to what you have now.

If you are not covered, get covered tonight.

We don’t know what the Repeal bill will do that market as we have not seen enough of the language in it. We don’t know if there will be a Replace bill or what will be in it. If there is a Replace bill, it will most likely count on the idea of continuous coverage as its mandate analogue. So now is the time to build the history to survive Replacement.

Get covered tonight!

UPDATE: I missed a day

45 replies
  1. 1
    Scott says:

    Richard, besides a gap in coverage, is there any repercussion to my waiting a month or two (but no more!) for getting new insurance in 2017? I’m being booted from my current insurance at the end of this month. The way I read the rules, since open enrollment goes until Jan 31, I can’t be denied coverage if I enroll by then. Also, I believe there is a “2 month exemption” or the like for paying no fine as long as I remain covered for the rest of the year. Is there anything I’m missing (other than don’t get sick or have an accident)?

  2. 2
    germy says:

    free markets solve everything in a thunderdome

    Elon Musk, the chairman and chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla as well as Uber Technologies CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick and PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi have joined U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s advisory council, Trump’s transition team said on Wednesday.

  3. 3

    @Scott: Couple things in play:

    1) If you sign up by 1/31, you get coverage starting on 3/1 and under ACA rules as of now, you don’t have to pay the mandate penalty (3 months grace)
    2) COBRA gives you 60+ days from the notification letter to sign up with retroactive coverage
    3) In 2016 I would be comfortable running naked as I’m young and healthy but in 2017, I would want to build my continual coverage clock as long as possible

    4) It’s risky

  4. 4
    Lynn Dee says:

    Richard, are you sure the deadline is tonight at midnight? I was under the impression folks had all day on the 15th (tomorrow) to sign up for Jan. 1, 2017 coverage.


  5. 5
    Another Scott says:


    GOP lawmakers are eager to move as many top policy priorities for Trump as possible in his first 100 days, including repealing ObamaCare on his first day as president.


    Republicans are indicating they’ll pass two budgets this year: one right out of the gate in January as a vehicle for repealing the healthcare law, and another to focus on tax reform. In order to use the legislative procedure known as reconciliation, which can’t be filibustered in the Senate, Congress must pass a budget resolution first.

    GOP leaders are aiming to conduct votes to undo ObamaCare during the opening days of the new Congress in January.


    On Sept. 30, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding ends.

    The program provides states with funding to expand healthcare coverage to uninsured children ineligible for Medicaid. Efforts to renew the program may end up being part of discussions to replace the healthcare law.

    Alternatively, CHIP funding could be tucked into a government spending bill for the new fiscal year that will start Oct. 1.

    There’s lots more in the link – including their plans to spin off the ATC system from the FAA… :-/

    There’s a whole series of deadlines and rules during the budget process. We will have to fight them every . single . day to prevent them from gutting the federal government and the programs that tens of millions of people depend on and have paid for.

    Agreed – everyone needs to be sure they sign up if they don’t have coverage. If they [Donnie and the Teabaggers] want to destroy the system, we have to make sure they own it and don’t have any place to hide…


  6. 6
    LAC says:

    Enrollment for the ACA Health Insurance marketplace is open through 1/31/2017. You enroll by December 15 for coverage starting on 1/1/2017.

  7. 7

    @LAC: But enrollment for 1/1/17 coverage closes tomorrow night for most states

  8. 8
    kindness says:

    I don’t understand this. Republicans have repeatedly told us they don’t care how many people or commercial entities they hurt when they take down the ACA. They are just going to do it and do it full speed ahead. Far too many out there seem to be projecting Democratic values/norms by saying ‘Oh Republicans would never do that’ (see that whole VOX interview with the Kentucky idiots). This is a wtf? situation. Republicans don’t care who they hurt. For far too many of them I see their hurting others will be their badge of ‘honor’ because they don’t care about the hurt as much as they care about the punching down part. Republicans are going to kill Obamacare and anyone….ANYONE saying they won’t is rationalizing by using a fantasyland that doesn’t exist. Because Republicans really don’t care and we should believe them when they say these things.

  9. 9
    dr. bloor says:

    @kindness: Actually, you understand it perfectly.

  10. 10
    JMG says:

    Hurting others is the core principle of the Republican party. Of course, it has to be people who can’t fight back, because it’s the cruelty of cowards.

  11. 11
    kirbster says:

    My income is high enough that I don’t qualify for any government premium support for my individual healthcare insurance. Is the price for my silver-level plan that I’ve selected (and already paid the January premium for) guaranteed for all of 2017 even if the ACA is repealed? Or can my insurer arbitrarily jack up the price or change the benefits of my healthcare insurance plan?

  12. 12
    kindness says:

    @JMG: What really pisses me off is that now I’m in the position of having to work to help bail out people who did everything they could to sink their own boats. I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for me. Enlightened Self Interest will have to do.

  13. 13
    LAC says:

    @Richard Mayhew: yes. In order to get coverage starting on the 1st of January, the deadline is the 15th. The open enrollment period is until 1/31.

  14. 14

    @kirbster: Really good question.

    The 2017 premiums are fixed. Those premiums were made with several significant policy assumptions made. The big ones are that cost sharing reduction subsidies would be paid for low income Silver buyers and the individual mandate would be in place. The Feds in the form of CMS gave insurers an out clause in their contracts. If the CSR subsidies are not paid, insurers can legally leave the market. So the two prices that you may see are either current price or 0 as insurers flee.

  15. 15
    germy says:

    I pay for flood insurance with FEMA. I wonder if FEMA is going away, too?

  16. 16
    Mike in NC says:

    @germy: Under President-for-Life Trump, FEMA won’t go away but somebody like Sarah Palin will be placed in charge of it.

  17. 17
    LAC says:

    @Mike in NC: or someone who owns herds of miniature ponies.

  18. 18
    dr. bloor says:

    @Mike in NC: Which will leave you wishing that it had simply gone away.

  19. 19
    danielx says:

    OT, but seems appropriate – Soviet era joke about the five precepts of Soviet intelligentsia –

    Don’t think.
    If you think, then don’t speak.
    If you think and speak, then don’t write.
    If you think, speak and write, then don’t sign.
    If you think, speak, write and sign, then don’t be surprised.

  20. 20
    Scott says:

    @Richard Mayhew: I get (1) and (4), (2) isn’t an issue. With regard to (3) (wanting to have a long history of being covered) is this a calculation assuming that, if ACA is repealed and I am looking on the individual marked in 2018 I might run into problems if I’ve only been covered for the previous 10 months?

  21. 21
    germy says:

    Ah, now I get it. Losing our insurance is like fine wine.

    Donald Trump says he appreciates House Speaker Paul Ryan, but the president-elect also is warning the top congressional Republican not to cross him.

    At a rally Tuesday in West Allis, Trump praised the Wisconsin politicians in attendance. When Ryan drew boos, Trump said he was “like a fine wine. Every day that goes by I get to appreciate his genius more and more.” He added, however, “if he ever goes against me I’m not going to say that.”

  22. 22
    eldorado says:

    thanks richard. i had, in fact, gone through the enrollment part but had not selected a plan. set now.

  23. 23
    Yarrow says:


    Hurting others is the core principle of the Republican party. Of course, it has to be people who can’t fight back, because it’s the cruelty of cowards.

    I’ve said for a long time that the defining characteristic of Republicans and conservatives and anyone else on that side of things is “lack of empathy.” They simply can’t imagine what something is like unless they, or possibly a close family member, have experienced it.

    The incoming administration has that characteristic in spades. They also have another characteristic that defines authoritarians – they are sadists. So yes, they want to hurt people. It’s what they derive pleasure from.

  24. 24
    Kropadope says:

    I have a question if you don’t mind. I get my insurance through school and I believe it runs August to August. If it stops after Spring semester and I miss open enrollment for the exchanges, how am I affected?

  25. 25
    Yarrow says:

    Richard, thanks so much for your posts. Any thoughts on COBRA being dismantled along with the repeal of ObamaCare? Are they tied in any way?

  26. 26
    eldorado says:

    @Kropadope: losing (not dropping) insurance should be a qualifying event to enroll in the aca. but i am just a guy on the internet. i would definitely talk to someone in your state about the specifics.

  27. 27
    Another Scott says:

    @Scott: Nobody knows what is going to be in a repeal bill yet, assuming there actually is a repeal bill (which we have to do). We don’t know its effective date, we don’t know how far back as “continuous coverage” marker will go, etc., etc.

    The only thing one can do is get signed up now (or ASAP) to be covered under the existing system. And lobby your congresscritters like mad to not break the existing system.



  28. 28
    Scott says:

    @Another Scott: I was thinking of the “worst case”, where we went back to how it was before ACA. I experienced the joy of buying on the individual market then, and I seem to remember panicking about the possibility of there being even a 1 day gap in coverage when I was looking for a new plan. I’m not looking forward to going back to that, but that’s what I was asking Richard about. Thanks for your input.

  29. 29
    Mnemosyne says:


    eldorado is probably right about it being a qualifying event to get new insurance immediately, but I would talk to the dean of students. You are not going to be the only freaked-out student calling them right now.

  30. 30
    BG says:

    Mr Mayhew-
    Any suggestions for a young person who has aged out of her parents’ insurance, has medical conditions that make it hard to find a job, in a state without expanded medicaid?

  31. 31
    Miss Bianca says:

    Richard, a question: I ditched my Obamacare plan when I got emploer-covered health insurance. Now, for a lot of reasons, I’m wondering if it would be better to switch back while I still can. Thoughts?

    Part of the reason is that my employer-based plan just went to a $6,000 deductible. Pig-schtoopers.

  32. 32
    Yarrow says:

    @Miss Bianca: Don’t know what state you’re in, but scroll through the exchanges. The deductibles aren’t much better I found. If you have employer based health insurance I don’t think you can be eligible for subsidies. And if you choose to go on the exchange then you risk your plan being yanked out from under you with no notice depending on how the Republicans do their “repeal of Obamacare.”

    I think anyone with an employer-based plan is the safest in the upcoming disaster. The large majority of people in the US get their health coverage through their employer. They won’t disrupt that right away. Although costs will skyrocket – but that will go for all plans.

  33. 33
    Sasha says:

    Just reenrolled. Switched from Humana Silver to Blue Shield Silver since my after-subsidy monthly premiums for Humana will have tripled ($40+ to $130+, Blue is $50+).

    Sucks but still better than the alternative.

    (BTW, why a 200% increase?)

  34. 34

    @Scott: yes, it is a bet that have a track record of continual coverage is going to be important.

  35. 35

    @Yarrow: COBRA is independent of the ACA

  36. 36

    @Kropadope: I am assuming that your insurance through school is a qualified plan or an ERISA plan. When you lose it through no fault of your own, you trigger an open enrollment period where you can go on Exchange and get a policy outside of the regular enrollment period.

  37. 37

    @BG: No, I don’t have good advice. look at the exchanges and see if you can get a good faith estimate of your income up to 100% FPL and go from there is the best advice I can give.

  38. 38

    @Miss Bianca: @Yarrow:

    Anyone can buy on Exchange. As Yarrow points out, if you have qualified and affordable coverage offered through work you and the rest of your household can buy on Exchange but can not be subsidized on Exchange.

  39. 39
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Richard Mayhew: I jusat have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, now – that we’re going to go back to bad old days of being held completely hostage to the insurance industry and employers’ (un)willingness to offer health insurance that people can actually afford, and actually *covers* shit people need done. (Sorry, Richard – this isn’t meant as a slag to present company). I hate the thought that I’m stuck in this job because, crappy as my health insurance is thru’ them, it’s going to be even worse/more unaffordable if I leave.

  40. 40
    Yarrow says:

    @Richard Mayhew: Thank you, Richard. Small comfort but some anyway. Appreciate your work.

  41. 41
    Yarrow says:

    @Miss Bianca: Health insurance handcuffs. It’s by design. They want the population to be serfs.

  42. 42
    Full Metal Wingnut says:

    Will catastrophic coverage count for the purposes of continuous coverage? My wife and I can only afford that or a crappy super high deductible Bronze plan (we make just too much to qualify for a subsidy but our rent is so expensive in New York that even unsubsidized Bronze is starting to push it for us-we’re looking to move somewhere cheaper but that’s a story for another day).

  43. 43
    proud graduate of catlady academy says:

    If you are going to just be “auto enrolled” in your existing plan for 2017, or what the Marketplace calls a passive enrollment, please call your insurance company and verify you are enrolled in 2017-we call these passive enrollments. Please also if you are in NY or VA and chose UHC pay your premium by the 1st of the year. We will absolutely term passive enrollments on Jan 2nd 2017 if they aren’t paid for by then.

    I work billing for the HCE at UHC and we will term passive enrollments the day after the due date if they aren’t paid for on the 1st. New management strategy!

  44. 44
    Bg says:

    @Richard Mayhew: That’s what I feared. But thank you for responding

  45. 45
    Another Scott says:

    @proud graduate of catlady academy: “term” as in terminate? Yikes.


    Thanks for the warning.

    I wonder how the management there manages to sleep. :-(

    Hang in there.

    (Who realizes that if that type of management is unique at the moment, that it won’t be for long if Donnie and the Teabaggers get their way…)

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