Obamacare Enrollment Made Easy: The Steps To Signing Up

October 13, 2013  |  

Are you still confused by Obamacare? Well, if you can survive the tech glitches that still plague the online registration site, it is not hard to enroll in health care coverage in the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.

FYI: Coverage starts in 2014, but you must sign up by December 15 if you want coverage to begin January 1, reports CNN.

The way you enroll will depend on the state you live in. But in general guideline, here’s  to how to sign up for a policy on the exchange.

1. Go to the official enrollment site at Healthcare.gov, and enter your state.

“If you live in a state that’s running its own exchange, you will be directed there or you can just go directly to your state’s exchange website. Those in the states where the federal government is running the exchange will apply through the federal portal,” explains CNN.

So what is an exchange? “The health care exchanges are essentially marketplaces where you can easily choose the type of insurance that best meets your needs. They are either run by the state or the Federal department of Health and Human Services,” reports About.com. Exchanges offer four different types of plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Through these categories you to can compare plans with the same copays, deductibles and monthly fees from different companies.

All the insurance plans offered by the exchanges must cover these essential health benefits: Emergency room services and hospitalization, outpatient care, including preventive and wellness visits, as well as chronic disease management, maternity care, and prescription drugs.

2. Next, you must then set up an account and provide information, such as your name, address, age, number of people in your family, household income, employer and whether you have access to insurance elsewhere, explains CNN.  You’ll also have to reveal if you are a smoker, since insurance carriers can charge smokers more.

3. If you want, you can also apply for a federal subsidy, which may require you to provide pay stubs and certain tax forms.  The income you list must match your Internal Revenue Service records. The website should tell you instantly if you qualify for the subsidy. “You’ll also find out whether you are eligible for Medicaid, and whether you can enroll your children in the government health program for kids, known as CHIP,” reports CNN.

4. Now it is time to actually enroll. You can learn about the various insurance policies available in your area, including deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, doctor networks and benefits packages. Plans are sorted by premiums and various other criteria and can be compared side by side.

“You can then enroll and opt to set up premium payments online or call the carrier’s customer service department for additional payment options,” reports CNN.

If you don’t want to enroll online, applications can also be mailed in.

And if you need help enrolling, visit localhelp.healthcare.gov on the federal portal and type in your zip code. It will list various places you can get help in filling out the application.

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