Avoid paying too much during open enrollment for Affordable Care Act

Maygan Rollins, 22, a field organizer with Enroll America, holds a clipboard with pamplets while canvassing at a bus stop, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, in Miami. Enroll America is a private, non-profit organization running a grassroots campaign to encourage people to sign up for health care offered by the Affordable Care Act. In less than a week Florida residents can start enrolling for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Today is the first day to enroll for the Affordable Care Act.

KSN spoke with Juven Nava, the director of outreach and eligibility at GraceMed Health Clinic in Wichita to answer a few questions about this year’s enrollment.

Some people have asked if they have to re-enroll in order to keep their plan or coverage.

The answer is yes, Nava said, but you should still re-visit the marketplace to make sure that the plan you have is the best option for you.

“Even if you continue with the same plan, costs have risen, so you want to see what’s affordable for your budget,” Nava said.

You don’t have to do that alone, though. Working with a certified health exchange navigator, like Nava, could help you find the best options and save more money.

Just make sure you work with someone who is both free and certified to avoid being scammed, Nava said.

Often times families don’t realize they may qualify for money off or that their kids qualify for Medicaid at no cost to them, he said.

“It’s important for you to know your expenses and know your budgets but also be aware of what’s available in the marketplace because a lot times people don’t understand that your income will qualify you for a subsidy,” he said.

The exception to that comes for people with higher incomes who make too much to qualify for those subsidies or tax credits.Those are people who make more than $30,000 a year, according to Nava.

He also stresses the importance of being prepared and on time for re-enrolling.

“Make sure you have all your information with you if you’re re-enrolling; please make sure that you have your log in information for the marketplace because that’s really important; sign up as soon as possible so you don’t have to worry about this later on and also keep in mind that the enrollment period is much shorter than it has been in the last three years,” Nava said.

The deadline to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start by January 1, is December 15, 2016.

The very last deadline to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan is January 31, 2017.

After January 31, 2017, you can only enroll or change your plan if you qualify for a special enrollment period.