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?

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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
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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.

Biden’s Plan Making Health Insurance More Affordable for Millions of Americans

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, was signed into law on March 11, and Americans have already started receiving their stimulus checks. But that is not the only benefit Americans are going to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act. The law includes a provision to expand healthcare coverage and lower healthcare costs by boosting subsidies for Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans. The new lower-priced insurance plans will be accessible to Americans starting on April 1. 

The Cost of Insurance Is Too High For Many

The ACA has been going strong since 2010, providing access to quality health insurance for millions of Americans. However, many Americans earning over the income limit required to qualify for a subsidized plan are still finding health insurance too expensive, and have been opting out of purchasing plans.graph on a chalkboard with a red arrow going upward“There has been considerable discussion over the fact that while the ACA clearly increased affordability of and access to insurance coverage for millions of people, many people still find the premiums and out-of-pocket costs they face to be high and sometimes too burdensome,” says Linda Blumberg, a health economist at The Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit social and economic research organization. With the American Rescue Plan Act, the Biden Administration hopes to change all of this by making more people eligible for subsidies

The Subsidies Broken Down

Before this new law, you could only qualify for a subsidized health insurance plan if your modified adjusted gross income was between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level. For 2021, that’s between $12,760 (100% of the federal poverty level) and $51,040  (400% of the federal poverty level), for an individual. So before the American Rescue Plan Act, if you earned above those amounts, you would have to pay full price for a Marketplace health insurance plan.

But the American Rescue Plan Act allows those who earn over 400% of the federal poverty level to receive subsidies to purchase health insurance through the ACA Marketplace. It also 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. 

Cheaper Premiums

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Biden’s new plan will reduce health insurance costs for millions of Americans, helping them save more.

The Biden administration estimates that ACA premiums will decrease by about $50 per month. One administration official emphasized that 4 out of 5 people enrolling “will be able to purchase a plan for $10 or less per month.” This could make a huge difference in the lives of the 14.9 million people who are currently not insured in the U.S.

With the new law:

  • An individual making $19,000 or less will not have to pay a monthly premium for health insurance. 
  • Couples who earn more than $70,000 together will save $1,000 per month on their health insurance monthly premiums. 
  • A family of 4 with an income of $90,000 will pay about $200 less in health insurance premiums. 

Anyone buying their own health insurance through the ACA Marketplace will be able to receive the tax credits beginning April 1. Comparing plans is the best way to find an affordable plan that provides the right level of coverage for you. Before you start doing the work of comparing on your own, come to EZ. We will make the process quicker and easier by comparing available plans in your area in minutes. Our licensed agents work with all the top-rated insurance companies in the nation and can go over your budget and needs, and find the best plan for you and your family. We compare plans and offer guidance at no cost to you. To get free quotes, simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak directly with an agent, call 888-350-1890.