ACA reopens Sign up for health insurance
The Affordable Care Act marketplace has reopened through May 15. This means that Illinois residents can sign up for health insurance plans even if they haven’t experienced a qualifying “life change.” If you skipped signing up in 2020 you are now eligible to sign up now through May 15. Also if you signed up in 2020 during open enrollment you also have the option to change your plan.
The premium you pay is based on where you live, your income, age, if you are a smoker, and the level of coverage you pick and the annual deductible. The plans are labeled Bronze (lowest premium) to Silver, Gold and Platinum (highest premium).
If your Adjusted Gross Income is below 400 percent of the poverty level ($51,040 for a single person and $104,800 for a family of four), you may be eligible for a subsidy. That is if for example (I’m making these numbers up) your premium is $800 a month the government may pay $250 of that and you will pay the rest directly to the insurance company. And if your income is currently low enough, in Illinois, you may qualify for Medicaid. You can preview 2021 plans and estimated prices here. Warning: The estimated prices they show are very low. So don’t be surprised when you set up and account and provide your actual income that the rates are substantially higher.
Keep in mind that if you were employed and you paid say $40 per pay period for your health insurance that does not mean your premium was $80 a month. That means that your premium was (I’m making this up) $800 and your employer was subsidizing the other $720!
Insurers available in Chicago, Illinois (52 plans available)
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
Ambetter of Illinois
Each insurance company provides plans with different coverage, deductibles and copays. They also offer PPO’s and HMO’s. There are 52 plans available in Cook County this year. Be prepared to spend several hours reviewing plans. The website allows you to compare up to three plans at a time. If you have a particular doctor(s) or hospital you want to use you should call or email your doctors office and confirm whether they accept a plan you are thinking about signing up for. Better yet request a list of all the ACA plans they accept. You may also have to change doctors.
ACA reopens Sign up for health insurance now – What ACA plans do local hospitals accept.
Until 2021 Northwestern Memorial did not accept any ACA plans. Each local hospital has a website that lists what ACA plans they accept. Here are links to the bigger hospital networks.