Health insurance FAQs

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Frequently-asked questions about health insurance

Our insurance experts answer the questions our readers ask most.

What’s the deadline to get coverage during Obamacare’s open enrollment period? Read answer

What are the ACA’s enrollment periods and when can I enroll outside of the open enrollment period? Read answer

What’s the difference between prescription discount plans and prescription drug insurance?

What’s the difference between prescription discount plans and prescription drug insurance? Read answer

Is the IRS changing how much I’ll have to pay for my health insurance next year? Read answer

If I don’t enroll in a plan by the open enrollment deadline, what are my options after that?

If I don’t enroll in a plan by the open enrollment deadline, what are my options? Read answer

If I don’t make changes to my plan and just let it auto-renew for January, am I stuck with it for the rest of the year?

If I don’t make changes to my plan and just let it auto-renew for January, am I stuck with it for the rest of the year? Read answer

Do student health policies have to cover birth control without co-pays?

Do student health policies have to cover birth control without co-pays? Read answer

Why have so many southern states refused to expand Medicaid?

What is the Medicaid ‘coverage gap’ and who does it affect? Read answer

Can the government enforce Obamacare penalties?

Is it true that government can’t really enforce the penalty for not having health insurance? Read answer

If the IRS doesn’t owe me a refund, how does it enforce the individual mandate penalty?

If the IRS doesn’t owe me a refund, how does it enforce the individual mandate penalty? Read answer

Should I be leery of short-term health insurance? Read answer

My employer offers insurance, but I think it’s too expensive. Can I apply for a subsidy to help me buy my own insurance?

My employer offers insurance, but I think it’s too expensive. Can I apply for a subsidy to help me buy my own insurance? Read answer

How do the health insurance exchanges affect me if I already have insurance from my employer?

How do the health insurance exchanges affect me if I already have insurance from my employer? Read answer

Q: I heard that the IRS isn't going to enforce the Affordable Care Act's penalty for 2016 tax returns. Is that true? A: No. Everything about the Affordable Care Act's penalty enforcement is the same as it was for 2014 and 2015 – although the penalty amount is significantly higher for people who were uninsured in 2016.

Does the president’s executive order mean the IRS won’t enforce the individual mandate penalty? Read answer

Even if you think you are eligible for Medicaid, you should pay attention to open enrollment.

If I qualify for Medicaid, should I worry about the January 31 deadline for open enrollment? Read answer

What is the difference between a Medical FSA and an HSA?

What is the difference between a Medical FSA and an HSA? Read answer

Make your health insurance premium payment before the grace period expires!

What happens if I don’t make my premium payment by the end of the grace period? Read answer

I have insurance through my husband’s employer, so I don’t need my employer’s coverage. But my company said I have to work fewer than 30 hours a week so that I’m not considered full time. Can I just waive my employer’s coverage if they let me work full time? Read answer

We're a family of four with an income of $47,000 a year. What kinds of subsidies are available to help us purchase insurance through the exchanges?

We’re a family of four with an income of $47,000 a year. What kinds of subsidies are available to help us purchase insurance through the exchanges? Read answer

Will Obamacare lower costs for self-employed?

Does Obamacare make health coverage less expensive for the self-employed? Read answer