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Affordable health insurance: Obamacare

Open enrollment's start is just one date you need to remember.

The Insider's Guide to Obamacare's Open Enrollment 2016-2017 EditionThe start date of the Affordable Care Act’s fourth open enrollment period on November 1 is definitely important, but it’s only one of a several important enrollment dates:

  • November 1, 2016 – The start of the open enrollment period (OEP) for 2017 coverage. The OEP window applies in the exchanges and to plans purchased off exchange – with the exception of Nevada. (In Nevada, off-exchange plans – with no subsidies – can be purchased year-round, but the carriers can impose a three month waiting period before coverage takes effect).
  • December 15, 2016 – For most states, it’s the last day you can enroll and get coverage that starts January 1, 2017. (In Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington state, you can enroll as late as December 23 and still have coverage effective January 1.)
  • January 31, 2017 – It’s the deadline to complete your enrollment. (If you enroll in coverage by the end of January 2017, you’ll have coverage in place no later than March 1, 2017.) In previous years there have been enrollment extensions, but last time around, and the majority of state-run exchanges did not extend enrollment. So expect January 31 to be a hard deadline.

Read more about 2016-2017 open enrollment deadlines.

If you need to better understand open enrollment, read our updated Insider’s Guide to Obamacare’s Open Enrollment.

Still have questions? Let us know. Have questions about your coverage options? Call 1-844-337-4826 to talk with an insurance professional licensed in your state.

Reasons to get and maintain health coverage

As time passes, most Americans are getting the message that it’s getting easier to research and buy coverage – whether it’s through the exchanges (where subsidies are available) or off-exchange. (Of those who enrolled for 2016 coverage through the exchanges, nearly 85 percent received premium tax credits; premium tax credits aren’t available off-exchange.)

Thanks to improved online tools, it’s easier than ever to compare health plans – from benefits to premiums and out-of-pocket expenses – while the federal government has mandated improved transparency regarding networks and formulary information.

Of course, by purchasing coverage, you can also avoid or minimize an Obamacare penalty established through the ACA’s individual mandate. Those penalties increased again in 2016 for people who are uninsured and not exempt from the requirement to have health insurance. For 2017 and beyond, the flat-rate penalty will be adjusted annually for inflation, although the percentage of income penalty will remain at 2.5 percent going forward.

But most important of all, it simply makes sense to cover yourself and your family with an ACA-compliant plan that covers the essential health benefits and offers a full range of consumer protections – including protection from staggering financial burdens that result from medical care.

About us: your guide to individual and family health insurance

At, we don’t sell insurance, but we do partner with qualified call centers staffed with agents who are both licensed in your state and exchange-certified. These partnerships also allow us to deliver health insurance quotes quickly and easily.

Since 1994, this site has been a guide for consumers seeking straightforward explanations about the workings of individual health insurance – also known as medical insurance – and help finding affordable coverage.

The topic of insurance can be confusing, but we’re here with more information than ever: educational articles, expert health policy analysisfrequently asked questions about reform, a health insurance glossary, and guides to the healthcare marketplaces and other insurance resources in each state.

Don’t hesitate to let us know if you hit a snag in the process – or if you’re stumped by a question about health coverage. Of course, we’d also love to hear about your success in getting coverage and quality healthcare.

But today, with the complexities of premium subsidies, cost-sharing subsidies, penalties – and now qualifying events and special enrollment periods – it’s a smart move to talk to a professional who can help minimize your cost and maximize your benefits, and save you research time. Call 1-877-809-0501 to get free assistance.

Open Enrollment 2017

What: The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) open enrollment period for 2017 coverage.
When: November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017
Where: Right here at
How: Get free health insurance quotes online or call toll free 1-844-337-4826

Special dates to take note of:

  • November 1, 2016: First day you can enroll in, re-enroll, or change a 2017 insurance plan. Your coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017.
  • December 15, 2016: The last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017. If you have not completed your enrollment by this date, you may need a short term health insurance plan to bridge the gap to your 2017 coverage.
  • January 1, 2017: 2017 coverage starts for those who enrolled or changed plans by the December 15 deadline.
  • January 31, 2017: The last day to enroll in or change a 2017 health plan. After this date, you need to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.