ObamaCare Open Enrollment: Dates Set, But What’s Changed?

The ObamaCare open enrollment dates have been set, so the U.S. government healthcare site is about to get flooded again. There are still a large number of citizens who have yet to enroll, mostly due to not seeing the need to pay for something they never use anyway. The ObamaCare tax penalty was also smaller than the amount you paid per month in 2014, so those on a tight budget had little reason to get signed in under the Affordable Care Act program.

As each year passes, however, the penalty is expected to rise and make it more expensive not to enroll within the ObamaCare open enrollment period. In 2016, you will pay a minimum of $325 per person over the age of 18, or 2 percent of your household income for 2015, whichever is higher.

The official Healthcare site states that if you want to sign up and avoid the rising penalty for 2016, the ObamaCare open enrollment dates begin on November 1 and end on January 31.

Hopefully, the servers can handle the traffic this time. One of the biggest problems with signing up for ObamaCare in 2014 was that the site wasn’t ready for the volume of traffic. The Inquisitr previously reported the reason for the site glitches as a digital bottleneck, sending everybody, even just the curious, to the same part of the site at the same time.

This time, enrollees will still have the option to change their plans, once again creating the possible digital bottleneck as new users sign up. The ObamaCare tax penalty could cause even more traffic to flood the site as more users seek to avoid the penalty in 2017. With the minimum penalty being over $600 for not being insured in 2016, even the poor may see no choice but to sign up within the ObamaCare open enrollment period dates this year.

Some who have already signed up, such as New Yorker Jennese Torres, have claimed that the only problem with ObamaCare is the “overwhelming” number of options.

“The website wasn’t bad. The worse part really was understanding the options. I didn’t want just the least expensive plan. I wanted a plan that’ll work with my health needs.”

To aid the new enrollees, the International Business Times says that the White House is expected to make some changes to the site. This includes price comparisons which should make it easier to decide which plan you prefer versus the expenses involved.

There are some U.S. citizens who never see a doctor due to rarely having a medical problem, and they are likely among those who didn’t sign up during the ObamaCare open enrollment dates for the 2014 to 2015 period. Others are simply poor and believe they can’t afford the premium due to public word of mouth.

Jenny Sullivan, director of the Best Practices Institute at Enroll America, would like to put that misconception to rest.

“Building the website and making it work is not enough. Many of the remaining uninsured haven’t [taken] the next step, not because coverage is unaffordable but because it’s perceived to be unaffordable.”

One thing which might convince the public to take advantage of the ObamaCare open enrollment period between the dates given is understanding the tax credits that can knock the premium down. IBT also says that the average premium in 2014 was $82 per month after subsidies, and many don’t know they qualify for those subsidies.

The website will hopefully make changes due to public feedback and make it easier to understand your options and weigh the premiums against your needs. If you rarely ever go to the doctor, you can simply pay the premium for the least expensive plan and use tax credits to get the discount on your federal tax form. If you have a family and require the services, there are other plans you can choose from within the ObamaCare open enrollment dates.

With the ObamaCare tax penalty in 2017 being over $600, can you afford to not sign up?

[Feature image via Space Coast Daily]