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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: December 16, 2016


More Than 11,000 Delawareans Have Signed up through Dec. 10

NEW CASTLE (Dec. 16, 2016) - Because of extraordinary demand, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has extended the enrollment deadline until Monday, Dec. 19, for consumers who want their 2017 coverage under the Health Insurance Marketplace to begin Jan. 1. Delawareans must enroll through HealthCare.gov or by calling the Marketplace Call Center by the end of Dec. 19 for their coverage to start Jan. 1.

After that deadline, Delawareans will have until Jan. 31 - the end of the 2017 open enrollment period - to enroll in or change their plan at www.HealthCare.gov, where they can also check out their options before enrolling.

Individuals who need help enrolling in coverage can get free assistance in person or by phone from federally funded, trained specialists at several Delaware organizations. State-licensed insurance agents and brokers are also available to help individuals re-enroll and to help employers update their coverage, at no extra charge. For more information, go to www.ChooseHealthDE.com. Besides www.HealthCare.gov, consumers can enroll by calling 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in June that nearly 25,400 Delawareans had paid for Marketplace coverage and had an active policy as of March 31, 2016.

Earlier this month, HHS also reported that 11,446 Delawareans had signed up for coverage from Nov. 1 through Dec. 10. That represents an increase of about 2.8 percent over a comparable period last year. Nationwide, more than 4 million people in states that use HealthCare.gov had enrolled, an increase of almost 100,000 over a comparable period in 2015.

"The public is pretty protective of their health insurance," Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said Dec. 12 at a press conference at Westside Family Healthcare's location in Bear, referencing the future of the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace under a new presidential administration.

About 85 percent of those enrolled on Delaware's Marketplace receive tax credits to help pay their monthly premiums. Financial help is available to individuals with an annual household income up to $47,520 and up to $97,200 for a family of four.

As in previous years, three insurers offer Marketplace medical plans in Delaware for 2017: Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware, Aetna Health, and Aetna Life Insurance Company. Together they offer 21 plans for individuals and 11 SHOP plans for small businesses. Two insurers - Delta Dental and Dominion Dental - offer a collective 15 stand-alone dental plans, 10 for individuals and five for small businesses.

Under the federal law, individuals who can afford health coverage but who choose not to buy it pay a fee when they file their federal tax return for the year they don't have coverage. In 2017, the fee will be equal to the higher of these amounts: 2.5 percent of your annual household income or $695 per person ($347.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty will not exceed $2,085 per household or the total yearly premium for the national average price of a bronze-level plan sold through the Marketplace. In addition to the penalty, consumers will be responsible for the total cost of health expenses they incur.

Consumers can estimate their penalty using the penalty calculator on ChooseHealthDE.com .

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.