The office of Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale says that the open enrollment period for Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) begins on November 1 and ends on December 15.

Spokesman Kyle Schmauch said the time is now to consult an insurance professional on getting signed up with the right plan.

“This is the time if you are going to purchase for yourself or for your family for the individual market, or if you’re a small business looking at a small group plan, now is the time to look at your options,” said Schmauch.

Schmauch said there is a piece of good news for those who have chosen not to be insured.

“Beginning January 1, the tax penalty that has been associated with Obamacare is no longer in place thanks to the tax reform bill that was passed through Congress and the President,” he said. “If you choose not to have coverage, or you choose a plan that does not comply with Obamacare, you won’t get a tax penalty for 2019.”

Schmauch said there are less expensive short term plans available outside the Obamacare marketplace, but may not have all the benefits of a full plan.

“There are some additional options available now including short term plans,” he said. “Typically, those are cheaper but they provide fewer benefits and less coverage, so this is why it’s so important for people to consider their own healthcare needs and look at their budgets before making a decision.”

Schmauch said there is help available for anyone who may need professional advice.

“You can always work with an insurance agent you may be familiar with and ask them questions, or we also have a light of people who are certified and knowledgeable about health insurance at our website, ‘Montana Health Answers’ and click on local assistance.”

Schmauch said the CSI also has a Health Insurance Shopping Comparison Worksheet that may be helpful.