In Alabama, rather than establish a state-run health exchange, residents have access to the federal health exchange, Healthcare.gov. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that 171,641 people in Alabama signed up for coverage during the 2015 Open Enrollment Period (OEP), compared to 97,870 in 2014. HHS actually oversees the Healthcare.gov website.
This dramatic increase in enrollment illustrates the success of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. This law enables Americans to receive direct quotes from approved brokers and exchanges, including both privately owned and publicly held, for-profit companies.
Actually, it’s a good idea to compare quotes from multiple, current insurers. This can better explain your many options, including those for pricing and benefits. But it’s important to note that Obamacare required all nonexempt Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014. If not, they faced the penalty of a tax imposed by the IRS.
However, this penalty could have been avoided if beneficiaries purchased coverage during the OEP. This period runs from November 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2016. But those with existing coverage were not compelled to change their existing plans.
But for lower- and middle-income families and individuals, there are provisions in place for financial assistance, including tax credits and subsidies. An estimated 89 percent of Alabamians qualified for premium subsidies, which reduced average monthly premiums from $360 to $92. For more information about federal financial assistance, we encourage you to visit Healthcare.gov.