Updated on September 22, 2017
Ohio does not run its own state-based health insurance exchange. Instead, residents here use the federally facilitated site at HealthCare.gov. They can also use an independent agent, broker site or company to enroll directly while still taking advantage of cost-saving measures under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Requirement by Law
Despite the political upheaval this year over healthcare reform, it’s important to note that Obamacare’s individual mandate is still in effect. The IRS has stated that it will be enforcing the mandate as well. Under the Affordable Care Act, all eligible Americans – which represents much of the country – must hold qualifying health insurance or face a penalty fee. For this year, the fee is the greater of 2.5 percent of your household’s taxable income or a flat fee of $695 per adult ($347.50 per child under 18). The fee increases with inflation each year.
Enrollment in Ohio
During the 2017 open enrollment period, 238,843 people signed up for health insurance using the state exchange, compared to nearly 244,000 last year. The very slight shift downward in enrollment can be contributed to several factors, including uncertainty over the current administration’s stance on healthcare reform and rising premium costs.
While Ohio enrollees can use the federal marketplace site for enrollment, it may be beneficial to shop around using a comparison site like this one. Getting current quotes from multiple carriers can help you find a plan that adequately addresses your needs and fits your budget. Brokers can also help explain your options more clearly.
In 2018, customers in Ohio will be able to choose from eight carriers on the exchange, losing two from the previous year (Anthem and Humana). Carriers offering coverage are:
- Ambetter (Buckeye Community Health Plan)
- Medical Health Insuring Corp. of Ohio (Medical Mutual)
- Premier Health Plan
Plan options from these insurers will vary across the state. Premium rate increases for 2018 will also vary, ranging from 10 to 39 percent. Insurers in the Buckeye State have assumed that cost-sharing reduction payments will continue for 2018 and that the individual mandate will be enforced to some degree. If CSR payments are not guaranteed, then premiums are likely to increase even further.
For lower- and middle-income families and individuals – those earning between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level – there are provisions in place for financial assistance, including tax credits and subsidies. Approximately 75 percent of exchange customers in Ohio qualified for premium subsidies in 2017. For more information about federal financial assistance, start the enrollment process today. Open enrollment for 2018 runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 this year.
Along with 26 other states, Ohio chose to utilize the federal health exchange, Healthcare.gov. And as research suggests, the state's residents have responded well to Obamacare, with 234,341 people enrolling in policies during the 2015 Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
Even more impressive, a Gallup poll found that as of mid-2015, only 6.1 percent (about 600,000) of the state's population was uninsured, compared to 2013's 13.9 percent (about 1.2 million). Much of this reduction in uninsured people is due to Medicaid expansion. As a result, many lower- and middle-income Ohioans can now purchase affordable healthcare.
The bottom line is that in Ohio, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working. No longer can people be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions or unjustified financial obstacles. Instead, Ohio residents have direct access to the federally facilitated Marketplace. Here, they can research and compare quotes from various brokers and exchanges, while fulfilling the government's requirements for coverage.
However, it's important to note that you must purchase coverage during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which runs from November 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2016. Failure to enroll by the deadline could mean you'll owe a penalty.
You can use the links below to get quotes direct from national insurance providers.