Wondering how to get Obamacare insurance… fast?
Well, you’ve come to the right spot, because I figured it out. I registered for Obamacare insurance just recently after moving on from my employer-based health insurance plan.
You may wonder why I ditched my employer’s insurance plan. The answer is simple: I’m leaving cubicle life, at least for a little while, to start my own freelance writing business. Exciting, huh? Well, it is, but it’s nevertheless a transition process.
I thought one of the hardest parts about making the leap into the freelance world would be having to navigate Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, and the insurance marketplace. Actually, as I’ll share with you, it doesn’t have to be that hard to get Obamacare insurance if you follow a few basic steps.
Following are 5 tips that will make the process faster and easier for you…
How To Get Obamacare: My Experience
While I happened to get my Obamacare insurance during the open enrollment period, it’s good to know that leaving my job would be considered a life-changing experience — which means I could have enrolled in the insurance marketplace at virtually any time.
Some examples of qualifying life events for Obamacare insurance include:
- Moving to a new state
- Specific changes in your income
- Changes in your family size
- Becoming a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe
- Gaining status as an Alaska Native Claim Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
If you don’t qualify under any of the life-changing events, you’ll find that trying to get Obamacare insurance during open enrollment can be, quite frankly, a bit crazy. After all, millions or people are trying to do the same thing, at the same time, as you are.
In my situation, the website became unresponsive after I typed in different personal information to find out what insurance plans were available to me. So, I wound up having to call the main Obamacare phone number: 1-800-318-2596.
The lines were busy when I first called, so I left my phone number when prompted to do so. There was a 5 to 7 day waiting period, and every day I received 1 phone call telling me where I was in the waiting queue.
After 3 days, I ended up calling the phone number back. After saying the name of my state into the phone upon the command of a recorded message, I was speaking to a live agent within about 5 minutes. Not bad, actually.
The agent I spoke to was very courteous and knowledgeable about the different plans available to me, and within a simple 15-minute conversation, he had all my information, found me a decent healthcare and dental plan, and I was enrolled.
Being that I’m relatively young (33 years old) and don’t smoke, I was able to qualify for a low premium.
I ended up with a bronze plan, so it covers doctors and hospitals, but it does have a high deductible. I can, however, receive primary care within my HMO network for small, flat fees. So, it won’t cost me an arm and a leg to get my arm or leg (or anything else) checked out by a medical professional.
I bought 2 private plans:
Unfortunately for me, I currently earn too much to qualify for tax credits. But once I begin my freelance career in earnest, my income will vary from month to month.
Since my future health insurance premiums are based on my income, if my income happens to go down, I was told to call back because I might then qualify for money-saving tax credits.
5 Tips & Tricks That Make It Easier To Get Obamacare Insurance
#1 – Check out the Obamacare website first.
- If you qualify for any tax credits or reduced insurance premiums
- What insurance options are available
- What plans might best suit you
- What insurance plans cover the things you need, such as prescriptions, basic doctor’s visits, etc.
In my case, the website was not functioning well for me when I went online to check out the options during open enrollment. However, several months earlier when I perused the Obamacare website the first time, I had no issues with getting around the site and found out about my tax credit eligibility and also what insurance plans seemed to suit my unique needs.
#2 – Know what you’re talking about if you call for assistance.
Even before I called the Obamacare phone number, I had some knowledge as to what types of plans were available and also what type of insurance I needed.
If you have an idea as to what you want before you call the health insurance marketplace hotline, you can help the phone call go much more smoothly and enroll in a plan more quickly.
#3 – Have a pen and paper ready when you call.
Good thing I was taking notes during the phone call. The agent needed me to write down an application ID number. This, the agent told me, is what I’ll need to use when and if I call the Obamacare line again or modify my plan at a later time.
In fact, the application ID number is one of the most crucial pieces of information you’ll be given once you enroll in the insurance marketplace — so be sure not to lose it!
#4 – If you know a life-changing event is about to happen, enroll in Obamacare as soon as possible.
Think you’ll be retiring soon? Changing jobs? Or expecting a major event to shift your daily life? If you’ll need health insurance due to this change, you’ll want to enroll in the insurance marketplace at your earliest convenience.
There are at least a couple reasons for this:
- You’ll want to have health insurance in case something happens for which you’ll need to have healthcare services provided to you.
- You may get fined by the government for lapsing in your insurance coverage. Fines are based on several factors including household size, household income, and length of gap between insurance plans.
#5 – If you’re a freelancer or earn a variable income, be sure to update your information on a periodic basis.
Like I said earlier, the Obamacare agent I spoke to encouraged me to call back whenever my income changes.
On one hand, this helps to avoid fraud from individuals with tax credit eligibility. If you’re earning more than you’re permitted within your tax credit guidelines, you could wind up on the wrong side of the IRS. On the flip side, if you earn less than when you first enrolled in Obamacare insurance, you might very well qualify for a substantial discount that you couldn’t get before.
I have one family member who is paying a mere 10% of what my premium is, and one reason is because this person earns significantly less than what I had to claim upon my enrollment and therefore benefits from reduced premiums.
More Quick & Easy Obamacare Insurance Tips
- 9 Tips For Obamacare Open Enrollment
- The Difference Between HMOs and PPOs
- Obamacare Facts …And What To Do If You Missed The Deadline
- How To Qualify For Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program)
- 6 Ways To Make The Most Of Obamacare Open Enrollment
- Find Low-Cost Health Insurance By State
- Is The Affordable Health Care Act Really Affordable At All?
I want everyone to live their best life… for as long as possible. So I often write about the health screenings that we all should be getting — to help catch potential health issues early. (Yes, I get my screenings too.) I also share my knowledge and experience with specific health problems that I am personally familiar with.