About one month left to sign up for Obamacare plans

Margarita Cambest
  • About 290,000 Pennsylvanians have already selected a 2017 individual marketplace plan.
  • The tax penalty for not carrying health insurance in 2016 or 2017 will be up to $2,085 per household.
  • Open enrollment ends Jan. 31.

With about a month left to sign up for 2017 individual health plans on the federal health insurance marketplace, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is announcing increasing sign-ups leading up to the deadline.

More than 6.3 million Americans had signed up for an individual marketplace plan as of Dec. 19.

A pair looks at their insurance options

Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, most Americans must carry health insurance or face a penalty — 2.5 percent of household income or $695 per adult and $347.50 per child younger than 18, up to $2,085 per household — on federal income taxes.

The federally facilitated health insurance marketplace set up under the ACA allows those who do not get coverage through the government or an employer to purchase private plans.

Thirty-nine states, including Pennsylvania, use the federal health insurance marketplace to offer plans to the general public. Of those, Pennsylvania ranks fifth for 2017 marketplace sign-ups so far, with 290,950 Keystone residents choosing a plan in time to be covered on Jan. 1. Philadelphians made up more than 60 percent of those enrollments, with 189,031 residents selecting a plan so far.

Should you enroll in marketplace health plans for 2017?

At the end of 2016 open enrollment earlier this year, 439,238 Pennsylvanians, had chosen a plan on Healthcare.gov. Of those plans, 63,932 were in the Harrisburg, Lebanon, Lancaster and York areas.

Open enrollment on the federal marketplace ends Jan. 31, but those choosing a plan after Dec. 19 will have coverage starting in mid-January or later.

Plans are available at Healthcare.gov.