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GUIDE TO AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: Don't worry, get covered


The deadline to enroll in healthcare through the Affordable Care act is January 31st.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still the law. Don’t be alarmed by rumors that it’s on its deathbed.

Despite the recent ruling by a federal judge, which deemed the ACA unconstitutional, it is still alive and well and open for business.

The good news for New Yorkers is that registration remains open through Jan. 31. For most people, this is the time to sign up for or change coverage. Changes and new enrollment will go into effect on March 1.

The Trump administration’s continued attempts to repeal and replace the ACA have created questions and confusion, but not a lot of actual changes. Protections, such as for pre-existing conditions, remain in place.

What has changed is the elimination of the individual tax mandate for tax year 2019. The mandate required people to have health insurance or pay a fee. However, you may still have to pay a fee if you didn’t have health insurance in 2018, so check that before filing your taxes.

Experts recommend heading to to compare and shop for 2019 plans.

“Assume nothing is changing for now. The court’s decision does not affect 2019 enrollment or coverage. You definitely need to sign up before the deadline,” says Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

She recommends registering as soon as possible.

“The lines at the end of the enrollment period get long. Plus, people also need to know that will be taken offline each Sunday during open enrollment for scheduled maintenance,” according to Pollitz.

Those who head to the marketplace may be pleasantly surprised.

“We have a fantastic marketplace with lots of insurance options. Most people in New York State will not see rate increases this year in the marketplace,” says Elisabeth Ryden Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at The Community Service Society of New York.

NY State of Health confirms that over 95% of marketplace enrollees will see no cost increase in 2019.

Coverage may be more affordable than you think. Get a healthy start on the year by setting up an account, inputting your information and comparing plan costs to find a plan that best suits your health and financial needs.