Missed The OEP? Don’t Worry, You Can Still Get Great Health Insurance!

Life can get hectic, and it’s easy to forget about the little things – or even the big things, like getting health insurance! And if you were one of the people who completely forgot to look into health insurance during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP), you’re probably stressing out about what you can do. But you don’t have to stress about it! There are ways to enroll in a health insurance plan outside of the OEP, so you don’t have to wait until next year to find a plan. In fact, you can still find an affordable plan that will keep you covered until the next Open Enrollment Period, with the help of an EZ agent.a clear hourglass that indicates time is up on a black background with the article title

Why the Open Enrollment Period Exists

Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, insurance companies could raise insurance premiums. Or refuse coverage to a person based on their medical history and conditions. But the Affordable Care Act made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage. Or charge more based on someone’s pre-existing conditions. But in order to ensure that people don’t only purchase health insurance once they get sick, the ACA set up a specific time during the year when people are allowed to purchase health insurance on the ACA Marketplace – the Open Enrollment Period. 

Your Options Outside of the Open Enrollment Period

While it might sound like there’s no way to get health insurance now that the OEP is over, there are actually a few ways. For example: 

A Special Enrollment Period Based on Qualifying Life Events

If you experience a major change in your life, known as a qualifying life event, you will be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Which allows you 60 days to enroll in a health insurance plan or change your current plan. What exactly are the qualifying life events that trigger a SEP?


A qualifying life event is a significant change in your life that would make you eligible to enroll outside of an Open Enrollment Period. These changes include:

  • Getting  married
  • Getting  divorced (specifically, if you were getting your health insurance through your spouse’s employer)
  • Having a baby, adopting a baby, or placing a child up for adoption or into foster care
  • Losing your spouse/partner, and being left without health insurance
  • Your spouse/partner losing their job (specifically if you had coverage through their employer)
  • Losing your job and employer-based coverage
  • No longer being a full-time employee eligible for workplace coverage
  • Moving outside your plan’s coverage area
  • Leaving jail/prison
  • Gaining citizenship

Short-Term Plans

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Short term plans are cheaper than ACA plans!

If you do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, the next step is to consider a short-term plan. These plans are much cheaper than ACA plans but do not offer as much coverage. They are worth considering, though: short-term healthcare plans provide fast, flexible insurance with many benefits. You can pick your deductible amount from many options. And you can drop coverage without a penalty for a long-term insurance option.


You can get one of these policies at any time and it will cover you for 364 days. It’s important to note that they do not have to cover pre-existing conditions. So premiums can be based on your medical history. 


These plans are considered minimum essential coverage because they are not regulated by the Affordable Care Act. Because they are not subject to ACA rules, these plans do not have to cover all the ACA’s 10 essential health benefits, which include:

  • Ambulatory patient services
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth)
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services, and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services

How EZ Can Help

Missing the Open Enrollment Period is more common than you might think, so don’t feel alone. And even if you missed it, you don’t have to go uninsured. EZ.Insure wants to make sure that you are protected from any catastrophic and unexpected healthcare emergencies. We will compare all available short-term plans in your area to find a plan that gives you the most coverage with the most savings. And because we just want to make sure you are properly insured, we offer all of our services at no cost to you. We will provide you with your own personal agent who will go over your needs and find a great short-term plan that can temporarily insure you until the next Open Enrollment Period. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a licensed agent, call 888-350-1890.

Health Insurance Open Enrollment FAQ

The Open Enrollment Period for health insurance is a very important time, when you can change or enroll in a health insurance plan for coverage beginning the following year. It runs from November 1 to December 15, and is the only time during the year when you can purchase a plan, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. To better prepare you for the Open Enrollment Period, including what to expect and how to find a great plan, we’ve answered some FAQ below. 

When Is The Annual Open Enrollment Period?

calendar with the date on november 1
Health insurance Open Enrollment begins on November 1st every year.

The Open Enrollment Period is the one time of the year that you can buy or change your health insurance; if you do not buy health insurance during the Open Enrollment Period, you will have to wait until the following year to do so, unless you experience a qualifying life event. 

The Federal Open Enrollment Period starts on November 1st and ends December 15, which gives you just about six weeks to choose a health insurance plan and sign up for one. However, some states have permanently extended their Open Enrollment Period until January 15th or 31st, with coverage beginning February 1st.

Am I Eligible To Enroll In Marketplace Health Insurance?

To be eligible to enroll in ACA Marketplace health insurance, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 64
  • Live in the United States
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Not currently be incarcerated
envelope in a blue circle
Be sure to review the ANOC letter you will receive about your current plan’s coverage for next year.

What Changes Can I Make During Open Enrollment?

If you currently have a health insurance plan, you will receive an annual notice of change (ANOC) letter in the mail prior to Open Enrollment; you’ll need to carefully review this because there might be changes being made to the price or coverage of your plan. But if your plan is not changing and you are happy with it, you will be automatically re-enrolled for next year

If you are unhappy with your health insurance plan, you can switch to a new one, but you will have to review all of the plans in your area, including new ones that might have been added. If you don’t review plans in your area during the Open Enrollment Period, you won’t know if there is a better plan for you; the best way to do this is by working with one of EZ’s licensed local agents, who can compare plans easily for you in minutes.

What If I Miss The Open Enrollment Period?

If you miss the Open Enrollment Period, your choices will be very limited until next year’s Open Enrollment Period, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. To qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), you’ll need to have experienced one of the following qualifying life events:

  •  Getting married or divorced
  •  Death of a spouse or policyholder 
  •  The birth or adoption of a child
  •  Loss of health insurance coverage
  •  Moving to a new area where the health plans are different from what you currently have

If you are looking for health insurance temporarily until the next Open Enrollment Period, you have the option of short-term health insurance, which will cover you for up to 36 months, but this type of plan has limited coverage. 

Can I Afford Health Insurance?red money sign next to a green question mark

The first thing you should do if you’re looking to save money is work with an agent who can compare plans for you and find one that fits your budget. Next, check to see if you qualify for subsidies, such as premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. Premium subsidies are available in every state, and help make health insurance more affordable. Eligibility for subsidies is based on your household income; it’s definitely worth checking to see if you qualify, since President Biden recently extended premium subsidies to millions of Americans, making them easier to get, even for those with an income of 400% of the federal poverty level or higher.

How Do I Find A Plan?

If you have any further questions, or need help finding a plan during the Open Enrollment Period, an EZ agent can help you. We will provide you with a local licensed agent who will search all available plans in your area and find the best one for your medical and financial needs. We will also double check to see if you qualify for any subsidies to save you even more money. All of our services are done in minutes and at no cost to you. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a local license agent call 888-350-1890.

How To Switch Plans During The Open Enrollment Period

Not happy with your health insurance plan? Looking to make a change during this year’s Open Enrollment Period? Well, now is the time to make the switch to a plan that better suits your needs – you only have from November 1st to December 15th to do so! But we get it, health insurance can be complicated and it can be confusing trying to figure out which plan to choose: there are so many plans from so many different insurance carriers, so you might not even know where to begin. So to make the process easier for you, we’ve laid out what to look for and how to execute the switch. 

Reasons To Switch Plans

There are a number of reasons why you might want to switch plans during the Open Enrollment Period, including: network connected with silhouettes of people, one red and the rest black

  • Changes to your plan’s network– Every year, there will be changes made to your health insurance plan, including to your network of doctors and specialists. This means doctors that you might have been going to for a long time might no longer be in your network, and if you choose to continue seeing them, you will have to pay a lot more out-of-pocket.
  • You are moving–  If you are moving, your current health insurance plan might not work in the area you are moving to, so you will have to find a new plan and doctor. 
  • Your family situation has changed– If you are adding a family member to your plan or if you have lost a family member, you’ll need a plan with more or less coverage.
  • You’re not happy with your coverage– If you’re looking to save some money, you might want to look for a plan with less coverage, or if you feel that your plan doesn’t offer enough coverage for you and your family, you’ll want to look for one with more benefits.

Things To Keep In Mind When Switching Plans 

Before you make a decision to switch plans, there are a few things that you have to consider. When looking for a plan that is right for you, focus on:

  • All of the costs associated with each plan– You’ll need to take into consideration not just  the price of each plan’s monthly premiums, but also the deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance that you’ll be responsible for paying out-of-pocket.
  • The network– Do you have a particular doctor who you want to continue seeing? Make sure that you review each network’s plan, so you will know if your doctors are covered.
  • The coverage– Each plan will cover services differently: for example, some will not cover a medical procedure or drug, while others might cover it completely. You need to determine what you need covered, as well as review the preventive care services, prescription drug formulary, and other coverage associated with each plan.

How To Switch Plans

illustration of a woman with a headset on sitting in front of a computer
Working with an EZ agent will allow you to find the best plan and deal in your area, for free. 

The best way to find a plan that suits your needs is by working with a licensed agent who is familiar with all the plans in your area, and who can go over any changes to your plan, like increases to your premiums, with you. EZ offers personal agents who will compare all available plans in your area and even help you switch plans for free – they will even take care of all the little details of switching and making sure everything is all set with your new plan, like notifying your current health insurance company that you are moving on.

Our agents work with the top-rated insurance companies in the country, so they have quick and easy access to all plans in your area. They will go over your medical and financial needs, and then compare all plans, including their coverage, premiums, deductibles, and other costs associated with each plan. We will help you find an affordable plan, and maybe even lower your health insurance costs! To compare plans in your area for free, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to one of our highly trained, licensed agents, call 888-350-1890.

If You Missed The Covid Special Enrollment Period, You’ve Got Another Chance To Sign Up!

Life can get pretty hectic, so it’s totally understandable if you missed out on the Covid-19 Special Enrollment Period, which ran from February to August of this year, and allowed Americans to sign up for health insurance outside of the usual Open Enrollment Period. But if you’re kicking yourself for not changing your plan or enrolling in a plan when you had the chance, don’t worry! You now have the opportunity again to find a great plan and save money: the ACA Open Enrollment Period started November 1st and will run through December 15 in most states, with an extension into January for others. Don’t miss out again on finding a great affordable plan!

Know Your Deadline!

a red circle with the word deadline inside of it multiple times around
Depending on the state you live in, your deadline might be longer.

As we mentioned, some states have different Open Enrollment Period deadlines. The deadline to change or sign up for a plan in most states is December 15, except for:

  • California: January 31
  • Colorado: January 15
  • Connecticut: January 15
  • Idaho: December 31
  • Massachusetts: January 23
  • Minnesota: December 22
  • Nevada: January 15
  • New Jersey: January 31
  • New York: January 31
  • Pennsylvania: January 15
  • Rhode Island: December 31
  • Washington DC: January 31

Extra Savings You Can Get Now

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, and the government took initiative to try and help Americans stay protected by opening the Special Enrollment Period in February, but that is not all they did. President Biden has also extended extra savings to Americans signing up for health insurance: his American Rescue Plan (ARP) is allowing more Americans to qualify for premium subsidies. Now, households with income up to 150% of the federal poverty level are eligible for subsidies that fully cover the cost of the benchmark plan, meaning they can select either of the two lowest-cost Silver plans and have no monthly premium.

Not only that, but the American Rescue Plan Act also allows those who earn over 400% of the federal poverty level to receive subsidies to purchase health insurance through the ACA Marketplace, requires that Americans pay no more than 8.5% of their income on health insurance premiums, and provides a larger tax credit to people who already receive financial assistance. Depending on your family size and income level, you could pay as low as $0 for a plan, or save up to $1000 a month in premiums. 

Save More With EZillustration of a man in a suit with a graph going upwards and a coin money sign above the graph

We get that trying to find a great plan while saving as much  money as possible is not easy; it can be time-consuming and downright frustrating. But EZ is here to help: our agents work with the top-rated insurance companies in the nation, making it easier and faster to compare plans in your area. In fact, we can compare plans in your area for you and your family in minutes! We will provide you with an agent who will find a plan that covers your medical needs, and will allow you to stay within your budget. 

And unlike other companies who just want to make a dime off you, we just want to help you stay healthy by finding a great plan that won’t break the bank. That’s why all of our services are free! Let an EZ agent start comparing plans for you now, before Open Enrollment is over. To get free instant quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to a licensed local agent, call 888-350-1890.

The Complete Guide to Open Enrollment for Employers

It’s here! Open Enrollment for your group health insurance plan has come around again, running from November 1 – December 15. Now is the time when you can choose new benefits, or review and change existing health insurance benefits for your employees, and we get it: this time of year can be hectic and stressful, with all of the questions that employees (and you!) might have. Not only that, but you’ve got the weight on your shoulders of knowing that this is your one chance to get this done until next year! But don’t worry, we’ve got you – first, check out our tips below for a smooth Open Enrollment, and then speak to an EZ agent who can help you find the perfect plan for you and your employees. 

employees sitting at desks in an office
To qualify for group health insurance, your business must have at least 1 full time employee other than yourself or your spouse.

Does Your Small Business Qualify for Group Health Insurance?

Let’s start with the basics. If you’re new to offering group health insurance to your employees, you might be wondering how you qualify to offer it. Well, it’s actually pretty simple, and more likely than not, your business will qualify! You need to:

  • Have at least one full-time employee who is not the business owner, or the spouse of the business owner
  • Be legally registered as a business entity in your state (regulation for this varies from state to state)
  • Contribute at least 50% to your employees’ monthly premiums

Why Take Advantage of Open Enrollment?

Ok, so your business qualifies to offer group health insurance, but should you? And if you’ve already got a plan in place, why review it during Open Enrollment? Well, there are a few very good reasons to do both:

  • You and your employees can save money – Enrolling in a group health insurance plan is often cheaper than enrolling in an individual plan. Not only that, but the more employees you can get to sign up, the cheaper the plan could be.
  • Changes in life circumstances mean changes in insurance needs – If you do already offer group health, you definitely need to take advantage of Open Enrollment and use this time to reassess your and your employees’ needs. Has anything major changed, like births, deaths, or marriages? If so, you might be able to find a plan that offers better or more tailored coverage for a better price.
  • Group health can mean tax advantagesWho doesn’t love to save on their taxes? Take this time to look into ways you could be saving, like checking if you qualify for the small business health care tax credit, or by choosing to offer tax-advantaged healthcare options, like HSAs, FSAs, or HRAs. 

What Should You Be Thinking About When Choosing a Plan?

Another important basic step in the process: knowing what you should be thinking about when exploring your options. Here are 4 essential factors that should go into your decision-making process:woman in a blue button up shirt with her hand on her chin and question marks around her

  • Costs associated with the plan – You’ll want to consider how much employees want to pay in premiums, while also remembering that you have to contribute at least 50% of the amount each month. Also keep in mind things like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance that can all add up, depending on how often your employees access medical services. 
  • The metal tiers of available plansFamiliarize yourself with the so-called metal tiers of plans: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. These terms have nothing to do with quality of care, rather they indicate what percentage of costs a plan will pay for covered benefits. For example, popular Silver plans will usually cover around 70% of costs, with the insured paying the remaining 30%. 
  • The type of plan you want – In addition to choosing a metal tier, you’ll also have to consider what type of plan you want to offer to your employees. For example, you can choose from HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO plans; each of these types of plan will offer different price points, since some are more flexible about things like network coverage.
  • Insurance companies – Check out which insurance companies offer plans in your area, and what their networks look like; you want to be sure that they offer affordable care in locations that are convenient for your employees.

What Should Employees Consider?

So you know what you need to be thinking about, but are you ready to answer your employees’ questions, or take on their concerns? You can help guide them in choosing or changing their plan by telling them to take the following factors into consideration:

  • The price of the plan – Let your employees know exactly how much the plan will cost them per paycheck.
  • Their dependents – Your employees should think about who they will need to have covered by their plan, especially if they plan on adding on family members in the coming year, or if they have added any new household members since last year. You’ll also need to make clear your policy on contributing to dependent coverage.person with a megaphone and exclamation points coming out of it
  • Any changes in coverage – Make sure your employees know what is covered under the plan, especially if there is anything new being added, like dental or vision coverage. 
  • Any added benefits – In addition, if your plan is going to have any new benefits, like telemedicine or wellness programs, let your employees know.

Top Tips for Employers

Group health insurance can seem a bit overwhelming, especially since studies show that 35% of employees have little to no understanding of their healthcare coverage! Not only that, but  22% of employees are confused during open enrollment, 20% are anxious, and 21% are stressed, so it can be tough to know how to approach this subject. But there are some ways to make the process go a little more smoothly. For example, you can:

  • Go digital – You don’t have to print out reams of paper, or have endless meetings with employees about benefits (which might be tough with all of the work-from-home going on right now)! Save paper, toner, and your and your employees’ sanity by offering everything in PDF form, and by considering holding a virtual benefits fair, which employees will be able to access when it works for them from the comfort of their home. 
  • Keep it simple – When emailing employees about their benefits, be as concise as possible, with price per paycheck and benefits clearly laid out, using language that is easy to understand. You can also include any FAQ sheets you get from your insurer or agent, as well as a glossary of terms and acronyms. 
  • Send out a surveyWhile you do have to be careful about privacy when it comes to employees’ health, there is no reason why you can’t send out an anonymous survey to find out what your employees are most interested in when it comes to their insurance plan, so you can either make a choice to change the plan you’re offering, or can recommend the right plan to them.
  • Be creative with your communication – Email is great, but you have tons of options when it comes to follow-up communication and reminders about enrollment, including:person sitting at a table with their cell phone in their hands
    • Text messages
    • Posters
    • A dedicated intranet webpage
    • Videos on screens in common spaces
    • Notices on paychecks (both hard checks and online)
    • A chat channel, through a platform like Slack
    • A Twitter chat, complete with hashtags that other employees can search

Yes, it’s Open Enrollment time again, what some might consider the most confusing time of the year. But you know? You got this, and we’ve got your back if you need help choosing, reviewing, or changing your employees’ healthcare plan. Come to EZ.Insure for a dedicated agent who can answer all of your questions, every step of the way, as well as find you fast, accurate quotes and sign you up for a great plan – all for free! No hassle, no obligation. To get started with us today, simply enter your zip code in the bar above or to speak to an agent, call 888-350-1890.