Get insurance: The step-by-step

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Need insurance and want a subsidy to help pay for it? Here’s what you should do:

Step 1. Check with your employer to see if health insurance is offered. If it is, find out how much your share of the monthly premium will be. If it’s unaffordable (more than 9.5 percent of family income to insure you alone), poor quality or doesn’t exist at all, you might be able to get a federal subsidy to buy insurance from the ACA marketplace.

Step 2. Go to Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (for individuals) or 1-800-706-7893 (for small businesses) to find out more about the marketplace. Or contact a local federally designated “navigator,” certified application counselor, insurance agent or other expert approved to help you learn about your options. There should be no cost for those consultations.

Step 3. Sign up for marketplace insurance through Healthcare.gov, over the phone at the toll-free numbers listed above or with one of those approved experts.

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Step 4. Use your new insurance.

Already have insurance through the marketplace? Here’s what you should do:

Step 1. Check with your employer to see if affordable, quality health insurance will be offered in 2015. Even if it wasn’t available this past year, that might have changed.

Step 2. Do nothing . . . or do something. If you checked the box that allowed Healthcare.gov to access your tax records every year, your 2014 insurance and subsidy will automatically renew for 2015. That means you don’t have to do anything. However, experts strongly advise you to review your situation. Anything could have changed, including your insurance plan, finances, subsidy and medical needs. Go to Healthcare.gov, call 1-800-318-2596 or contact a “navigator,” certified application counselor, insurance agent or other approved expert to explore your options and update your information.

Step 3. If you want to change insurance, you can sign up for a different marketplace plan through Healthcare.gov, over the phone at the toll-free numbers listed above or with one of those approved experts. Even if your old plan was automatically renewed, you have until Feb. 15 to pick a different one.

Step 4. Use your insurance.

ACA 201 Online: A one-year checkup on how the ACA is doing in Maine and a subsidy calculator can be found at SunJournal.com/ACA201

Profiles of Mainers who bought health insurance through the ACA marketplace:

You’ve seen how the Affordable Care Act affected other Mainers in 2014. How about you? Good, bad or neutral — share your ACA stories

Resources:

Affordable Care Act 101: We break down the ACA, what it does and what it requires you to do.

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