Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will be over in less than two weeks.
Despite massive funding cuts from the current White House administration to programs that help people sign up, enrollment in Alaska is up by nearly 50 percent this year. Jessie Menkens is the Coverage Initiatives Coordinator for the Alaska Primary Care Association. She says after several years of rising costs for Alaskans signing up for Obamacare, rates this year are finally going down by about 20 percent.
“Thankfully, due to reinsurance in our state and a recent 1332 waiver that was approved by the federal government to sustain that reinsurance program, we are feeling some relief. Even with some other changes that are occuring with regards to the law, we are very unique in Alaska that we are facing a reduction in rates.”
The waiver allows states to come up with innovative ways to get people signed up. Menkens says with the new rates in place, if you’re lined up to be automatically re-enrolled, double checking with a Navigator to make sure you’ve signed up for the best plan is recommended. If you’re a first timer, there are a few documents you’ll need, whether you’re signing up online or in person, like your ID and social security number.
“You’ll (also) want to start thinking about income projections for the upcoming year. It’s very helpful to have the previous year’s tax documentation with you for a basis for that estimation, but also be mindful of how you can be calculating your income on a month-to-month basis or on an annual basis. That’s an important factor as well," Menkens said.
Previous addresses are also helpful for the identity check you’ll go through to get signed up. Healthcare.gov is the online portal for getting coverage before the deadline on December 15th. On the Kenai, Peninsula Community Health Services in Soldotna is the designated office for signing up.