- healthinsurance.org editor
- August 14, 2016
For many Americans, Obamacare’s open enrollment period was the last opportunity to enroll in an ACA-compliant health plan for 2016. (Open enrollment for 2017 coverage – coverage that will be effective January 1, 2017 – will again run from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.)
Learn what happens if you didn’t enroll by the end of open enrollment.
Can you still get ACA-compliant coverage?
Just because most of the nation is now outside of the annual open enrollment period, that doesn’t mean that ACA-compliant coverage is necessarily out of reach.
Even if you didn’t make the open enrollment deadline for 2016 coverage, you may be able to buy an ACA-compliant major medical policy right now if you’ve had a qualifying event – a major life change that makes you eligible for a special enrollment period. By purchasing coverage, you can avoid or minimize an Obamacare penalty.
Options even if you don’t have a qualifying event
Even if you’re not eligible for a special enrollment period, you don’t have to wait for coverage until November (and we strongly advise that you don’t).
This site can help you understand coverage options like short-term health plans. (A short-term policy can be considerably less expensive than a qualified health plan – and you can often get coverage within a day.)
More 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 healthinsurance.org, 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 analysis, frequently 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 healthinsurance.org