Open enrollment deadline for ‘Obamacare’ approaching

DOVER — Delawareans must enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace by Thursday to gain coverage starting Jan. 1.

Others have until Jan. 31, the end of the 2017 open enrollment period, to sign up or change their plan at

Congress is expected to repeal the Affordable Care Act next year, but for now, anyone who does not have health insurance will face a fine.

In 2017, the penalty will be the higher of 2.5 percent of the individual’s annual household income or $695 per person. For children under 18, the penalty is $347.50.

Consumers can estimate their penalty using the penalty calculator on

Americans who do not have health care through their employer and are not eligible for public programs may be able to benefit from federal subsidies.

Sen. Thomas R. Carper.

As in previous years, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, Aetna Health and Aetna Life Insurance Company offer 21 plans for individuals and 11 plans for small businesses.

Delta Dental and Dominion Dental offer a collective 15 stand-alone dental plans.

The cost of premiums varies based on whether the consumer selects a bronze, silver or gold plan. Bronze plans have low monthly premiums but higher costs for care, whereas gold is the opposite.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said in a statement “… because enrolling in health insurance can be overwhelming, there is free, in-person assistance available to help individuals and families.

Every Delaware family deserves access to the quality health care they need, and the Marketplace is making that a reality for thousands of Delawareans for the first time.”

In addition to the Health Insurance Marketplace, some residents may be eligible for coverage though Delaware’s expanded Medicaid program, which is open year-round. For more information, visit Delaware ASSIST.

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