Updated on May 21, 2018
Ohio does not have its own state-based health insurance exchange, which means if Ohioians want an on exchange plan they must use the federal marketplace on Healthcare.gov or they can shop and enroll on independent online marketplace through a web-based broker. Of course, Ohioians can also speak to a licensed health insurance agent on the phone who can also enroll them in an Obamacare plan.
Requirement by Law
Obamacare enrollment has declined nation-wide over the past couple of years in large part due to the fact that the 2016 elections, the resulting Administration's stance on Obamacare and Congress' several attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Despite that, Ohioians still enrolled in health insurance during the 2018 open enrollment period.
For those that didn't enroll in a Obamacare during the open enrollment period and who remain insured throughout the year, they could face a penalty under the individual mandate in the amount of 2.5% of the gross household income or $695 per uninsured adult and $347.50 per uninsured child in the house, whichever is the greater amount. The tax bill passed by Congress in late 2017 did away with the individual mandate starting in 2019, so until then, there's a chance that uninsured families and individuals could feel the penalty when they file their income taxes for the 2018 calendar year.
Enrollment in Ohio
The 2018 open enrollment period in Ohio was fairly strong; however the total number of people who did enroll on the marketplace did decrease from the year prior (2017); however, the decrease was only by 3%, which is consistent with the decrease from 2016 to 2017, which was only 2%.
During the 2017 open enrollment period, 238,843 people enrolled in an Obamacare plan using Healthcare.gov or a private marketplace, compared to nearly 244,000 from the 2016 open enrollment period. The very slight shift downward in enrollment numbers during both the 2016 - 2017 years and the 2017 - 2018 years could be contributed to several factors, including the increased cost of health insurance premiums, the lack of carrier options, the uncertainty as to whether President Trump would alter the requirements of Obamacare and whether Congress would repeal and replace the law.
While Ohio enrollees can use the federal marketplace site for enrollment, it may be beneficial to shop around using an independent comparison website like this one or by calling to speak to a licensed health insurance agent. Health insurance plans can be confusing and it's important to make sure that you are picking a plan that is right for your financial and medical needs.
In 2018, customers in Ohio were 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.
Ohioians who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is approximately $16,240 to $64,960 for a married couple in Ohio, subsidies will be available to help bring down the total cost of monthly premiums. Approximately 75 percent of exchange customers in Ohio qualified for premium subsidies in 2017.
Ohioians who need health insurance outside of the open enrollment period can still be eligible for subsidies so long as they are also eligible to enroll. The 2018 open enrollment period ended on December 15, 2017 and the next one does not begin until November 1, 2018. In the meantime, any person with a qualifying life event may enroll in an Obamacare plan and may get subsidies to help them pay their monthly premium.
Along with 26 other states, Ohio chose to utilize the federal health exchange, Healthcare.gov instead of creating their own state exchange, and as research suggests, the state's residents have responded well to Obamacare.
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.
Just like the 2018 open enrollment period, the 2019 open enrollment period is shortened to only 45 days, which means that the longer you wait to enroll the more likely it is that you'll be faced with delays, particularly on the phone if you want the assistance of a license health insurance agent. The 2019 open enrollment period runs from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018.
You can use the links below to get quotes direct from national insurance providers.