40 hours to sign up

Individual market open enrollment on Healthcare.gov closes in forty hours.

You must be in line on the phone or on the web with an open application by midnight Saturday to get covered for next year.


Put your questions in comments so the hive mind can help.



27 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    Stacey Abrams is a spokeswoman to remind GA to enroll. I hope she helps.

  2. 2
    Elizabelle says:

    Something very disturbing to report. Yesterday, I was locked out of my Healthcare.gov account. So I handled the whole thing — completing the application and enrolling in a plan, down to billing instructions — in a lengthy telephone conversation with an HC.gov representative, Tiffany, based out of Houston. I was told that I would receive an email confirming I was good to go at some time yesterday.

    Email never arrived.

    An hour ago, I was able to gain access to my HC.gov account this morning and — there is no change to it whatsoever. No address update. No indication I ever filed an application or enrolled in anything.

    Went through the whole process again, up to confirming the plan — and got a system error; was advised to log out and try again in 30 minutes.

    I did get emails and confirmation I have filed an application. Nothing like that ever arrived yesterday.

    Will be working on that system every hour until I get a confirmation I am enrolled.

    I wonder if anyone else will get such an unpleasant surprise, after the deadline has passed. I would have no proof but for my phone’s record of a long, long call.

    Tiffany seemed to be on the level, although she was nowhere as well trained as employees (call center contractors) I have dealt with previously. One clear factual error that I let pass.

    And the lowest cost plan is egregious. I am doing it solely to protect my assets in event of something catastrophic.

    I will let you know how this turns out.

  3. 3
    wv blondie says:

    I got the confirmation I’m enrolled, but … what’s the drop-dead date to pay the first premium? Is it Dec. 15, Jan. 1, or Jan. 15? I ask because I’m beyond broke; the first date (tomorrow) is impossible, the second is improbable, the third is difficult but doable.

  4. 4
    AnOriginalName says:

    I’m a longtime reader of BJ, but this is my first comment.

    I’m ‘retired’ (laid off) as of May 2017, I’m currently 60 years old (61 in January). Between severance package and COBRA, I’m on my employer’s plan through April of 2019.

    My intent is to get on an Individual Market plan in May of 2019. Any suggestions on what I need to be doing to prepare for that time, since I’m only enrolling for a partial year next year?

    Thanks a bunch.

  5. 5
    patrick II says:


    take screen captures and keep them as a receipt. I do that for all my online transactions.

  6. 6

    OK. I’m asking for advice here as there is apparently no where else to go for active help. I am currently on unemployment with no current insurance coverage. However, I expect to be employed within the next several months with a salary significantly higher than 400% of the poverty rate (and in Texas!).

    Silver plans are $1200+ per month — gold plans are only a hundred dollars more.

    Should I take a silver plan with the subsidies and pay a significant penalty next year?
    Should I pay for a gold plan and avoid the larger co-pays? (I do have an unexpected but currently non-emergent need to see a doctor.)
    Or should I tough it out until I’m employed and insured in a month or two as there are no longer penalties for not having insurance?

    My unemployment checks are just enough to cover my rent. I’m using savings to pay for utilities and my remaining credit card bills.

  7. 7

    @Elizabelle: Do you know how to do a screen shot? If not, I can give you instructions on how to do that. That is the best way to document what you have done as proof.

  8. 8
    different-church-lady says:

    Simple stupid question: if someone already has a plan, but wants to change, is the deadline still the 15th?

    Asking for a friend, except honestly I’m asking for a friend.

  9. 9
    Kelly says:

    @FRANK MCCORMICK: If you make more than your estimated income you will only have to pay back the subsidies, no interest or penalty. I’d estimate based only my unemployment insurance. Think of the subsidy as loan to tide you over this thin spot.

  10. 10

    @different-church-lady: I think the deadline is the same. Changes can only be made during the rest of the year if the person has a life change (like getting married, having a baby, etc). But I’m not expert so…..anyone else with more knowledge want to wade in?

  11. 11

    For anyone who wants to get a screenshot on a PC/laptop and doesn’t know how…here’s the instructions.

    1. Alt+PrtScrn to take the screenshot
    2. Open Paint (it’s in Accessories)
    3. Ctrl+V to paste the screenshot
    4. File, Save As

    On a phone, it probably varies but on my Android it’s hold Volume Down and the Power buttons until it takes the shot. It will automatically save into a screenshot folder on your phone, which is available through your photos icon.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    @wv blondie: if you’re not getting a subsidy its 12/31. I am not sure of this but I think you get a grace period if you get a subsidy. But Trumpco may have changed the rules.

  14. 14
    narya says:

    Also: you may want to find a community health center near you. findahealthcenter dot hrsa dot gov) Many of them have enrollers who can help–and if they’re like our health center, you do NOT have to be a patient there. They’re likely crazy busy today, but it’s worth a call if you’re really struggling.

  15. 15
    Elizabelle says:

    Thank you guys — I had taken a screen shot. Very good advice.

    And, happily, turns out I AM enrolled after my telecon with Tiffany yesterday, and even called my new (egregiously expensive) insurance company a few minutes ago to confirm that and get my policy number. They knew all about me.

    SO: Tiffany came through, but somehow it never made it to my Healthcare.gov record. Nor did I get any email confirmations from yesterday. And HC.gov let me go through the entire process again but went to an endless loop when it came to the final step. (Because there was already an existing policy). Ah well.

    I am grateful we have a Democratic congress incoming, because I think we will see improvements after all the sabotage and neglect of the utterly horrible Republican congress now outgoing.

  16. 16
    Elizabelle says:

    @Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ: Thank you so much.

    On a MacBook, it’s simultaneous press of COMMAND, SHIFT and 3.

  17. 17
    Elizabelle says:

    In moderation for who knows why. Maybe too many caps.

  18. 18
    Elizabelle says:

    I wish everyone who is uninsured or underinsured, or looking at a whacking premium, the best.

    Greatest country in the world: not hardly. I am ashamed for us.

  19. 19
    Max says:

    Health Insurance experience: of these 3, which is your best or worst experience?
    1- Aetna
    2- Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
    3- United Health
    4- Virginia Premier
    Somehow I didn’t realize that MedicAID is actually like 5 or 6 different plans.

    I didn’t include all of them because 2 were definitely not right for me!

    So there’s a variety…

    ALSO … Another … Erm .. “Glitch”?

    I keep getting robo-calls saying i have not completed my app to ACA even tho when I login … It says “completed” next to my 2019 application.

    Does anyone know what’s up with that?

  20. 20

    @Kelly: Thanks Kelly! I intuited this was the case, and unfortunately declined the subsidies before I saw the monthly premiums. That’s probably a $1600 liability to start off the new year. (I’m already looking at having to obtain loans purchase a car and a full set of dental implants once I’m employed as well.)

    I’ll bounce your advice off on my partner this evening and visit healthcare.gov again.

  21. 21

    @AnOriginalName: Big thing is to figure out if you are a likely high spender or low spender. If you are a low spender in January-April, and are mainly worried about getting hit by a bus, then a lower premium, higher deductible plan can make sense. If you are a high cost individual who has already hit their deductible for COBRA, then the extra premium for lower deductibles/Out of Pocket (OOP) maximums might make sense

  22. 22

    @FRANK MCCORMICK: Take a look at the Bronze plans or Catastrophic plans.

    If you only need to see a doc for a couple hundred bucks, it is likely that the Bronze, Catastrophic, Silver and Gold plans will all have you pay close to the same in out of pocket expenses while the Bronze and Catastrophic plans are far cheaper per month.

  23. 23

    @different-church-lady: Yes, you have to make the change by tomorrow night.

  24. 24

    Medicaid is increasingly being run through Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCO). I used to work at UPMC’s MCO. The state pays the MCO and then the MCO pays for your care.

    I’ve never been too impressed by United Health on a technical basis. I don’t know about their care basis. The other three I don’t have a strong negative opinion against.

    As far as the telemarketing calls, the lists are not being instantly updated. Quite common in a surge situation. They would rather overcall than undercall.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    AnOriginalName says:

    @David Anderson: Thanks for this, David.

    I take it this ’40 hours to sign up’ isn’t an issue in my case; rather, my decisions will need to be made in April/May?

  27. 27

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