By now, the early glitches on HealthCare.gov are well known. The website has been worked on extensively since it was rolled out in October, and is now running pretty well. In the first two days of this month, 29,000 Americans were able to enroll in a health plan of their choice. On the third of December, Consumers Union story sharer Barbara Doucet joined those who have enrolled, and did so with no problem.
Barbara lives in a small city in Georgia. She has worked as a server at a restaurant for the past nine years and hasn’t been able to afford health insurance. Last Tuesday, Barbara went to HealthCare.gov and enrolled in a health insurance plan. “I haven’t had health insurance in so long,” said Barbara. “I’m going to go in for a check-up to see if I’m as healthy as I think I am.”
After looking through the 16 plans offered to her, Barbara chose a silver plan with a low deductible and a very low monthly premium. Barbara qualified for more than $600 a month in tax credits to help pay for her health insurance. “With the money I’m making now, that’s going to come in real handy,” Barbara said.
Though she is generally healthy, Barbara’s job requires her to be on her feet at work. She is paid by the hour, so if she does get sick and has to miss work, she loses wages. For people like Barbara, the ability to see a doctor and get healthy quickly is critical.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans like Barbara have enrolled in a health care plan through their state or federal marketplace since open enrollment began on October 1. To have your marketplace health insurance start on January 1, you must enroll in a health plan by December 23. Open enrollment will continue until the end of March for consumers who miss the January 1 start date.
Check out Consumer Reports online tool Health Law Helper to find answers to your questions about your health insurance options.