Are you shopping for health insurance? Beginning November 1st, you and your family can apply for new health insurance or switch healthcare providers by using the online Health Insurance Marketplace. This open enrollment period ends at the end of January next year. Using the Marketplace is an effective way to compare multiple different plans for their benefits and price, and to ultimately select the best plan that meets your needs. Individuals have until December 15th to enroll in or change plans for new coverage that would begin January 1st of next year. For those who get started a little later, coverage begins February 1st, if they enroll between January 2nd and January 15th. Enrollments or changes between January 16th but before the end of enrollment January 31st, will not take effect until March 1st.
If you fail to meet the January 31st deadline, you won't be able enroll in a health plan for next year unless you qualify for a special enrollment period based on a major life event. Typically, these include things like marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, or the loss of insurance coverage from a job-based plan due to retirement or termination. If you are included in a job-based plan, your employer must also provide you an annual enrollment period of at least 30 days.
Selecting the right healthcare plan is a critical financial decision for both you and your family. You can find more information about picking a healthcare plan and Health Insurance Marketplaces by visiting the federal government’s website at www.healthcare.gov.