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.

OEP Deadlines and Extensions

Are you completely happy with your health insurance? The 2019 open enrollment period has officially begun on November 1st, and will continue until December 15, 2018, lasting six weeks. During this time is when you can sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Last year was the first time the enrollment was shortened to just 6 weeks, and it continues this year as well. With the shortened deadline continuing, it is important to review your health insurance coverage, compare others, and sign up before the December 15. Some states this year have extended the period. Find out which states and how long you have depending where you live.

Some states have extended the open enrollment deadline for 2019 healh insurance.
Some states have extended the open enrollment deadline for 2019 healh insurance.

Extended States

The states that have participated in open enrollment with extensions are:

  • California, October 15, 2018 – January 15, 2019
  • Colorado,  November 1, 2018 – January 12, 2019
  • District of Columbia,  November 1, 2018 – January 31, 2019
  • Massachusetts,  November 1, 2018 – January 23, 2019
  • Minnesota, November 1, 2018 – January 13, 2019
  • New York,  November 1, 2018 – January 31, 2019
  • Rhode Island, November 1, 2018 – December 31, 2018

Three more states have the opportunity to extend their open enrollment period. The states that did so last year last minute, and can do it again are:

  • Connecticut, November 1, 2017 – December 22, 2017
  • Maryland, November 1, 2017 – December 22, 2017
  • Washington, November 1, 2017 – January 15, 2018

Other Changes

Another change to keep in mind during the open enrollment is that if you have missed payments in the past, then you can not sign up. The loophole that used to let people stop paying premiums at the end of the year and still be able to sign up is over. If all of your premiums are not paid for the 2018 year, then you will not beale to sign up for

Make sure to sign up before time runs out.
Make sure to sign up before time runs out.

2019 health insurance.

If you decide to buy health insurance from the ACA, then you should start looking into plans now and purchase it before the end of the enrollment period. Once you buy a plan, coverage will begin January 1, 2019. If you miss the open enrollment period, the only other time you can sign up is during a special enrollment period due to a qualifying life event such as marriage, having a baby, or losing coverage. You will now have to provide the necessary paperwork proving the qualifying life event. Start researching as soon as possible your options so you do not run out of time.