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Qualifying events

Our look at the ACA qualifying events which can let you buy health insurance outside open enrollment.

No qualifying event?

Short term heath insurance might be your best option.

Obamacare and how it affects your health insurance

A look at your coverage options and how you can choose wisely

Co-op plans under Obamacare

CO-OP health plans: patients’…

July 20, 2016 – As of July 2016, 16 of the original 23 CO-OPs had failed. It's too soon to know how the remaining CO-OPs will fare. Will more of them… Read more

What happens to individual health insurance coverage when a policyholder moves to a new state? The answer depends on the carrier, and on each state.

How to keep your health insurance when…

July 15, 2016 – What happens to individual health insurance coverage when a policyholder moves to a new state? The answer depends on the carrier, and on… Read more


Qualifying events that can get you…

May 7, 2016 – Even if you missed the general open enrollment, you could still have an opportunity to enroll in an ACA-compliant plan this year if you… Read more

How SHOP exchanges help small business under Obamacare

How SHOP exchanges help small…

February 10, 2016 – The unprecedented advantages offered by ACA's SHOP exchanges truly make the law a game changer when it comes to making small businesses… Read more

If you missed Obamacare's open enrollment, you still have options.

Miss open enrollment? You’ve got…

February 5, 2016 – Open enrollment for 2016 has ended. Short-term coverage is the closest thing you can get to "real" health insurance if you find yourself… Read more

Obamacare returns billions to American consumers.

Medical loss ratio returns $2.4…

January 27, 2016 – Thanks to the ACA's medical loss ratio (MLR), authored by Minnesota's Sen. Al Franken, health insurance companies were required to pay $332… Read more


How to avoid the surprise of health…

December 17, 2015 – If you auto-renew your existing health plan, you could be in for an alarming surprise: an entirely different plan that was selected by your… Read more

ACA Basic Health Program

Affordable Care Act’s Basic Health…

November 18, 2015 – The Basic Health Program was originally scheduled to begin January 1, 2014, but was postponed until 2015. And so far, only two states have… Read more

For healthy individuals in the coverage gap, one of the most obvious options is short-term health insurance. If you’re eligible, a short-term plan can be much less expensive than an ACA-compliant plan, and for the duration of the plan, it provides coverage that’s similar to what was available in the individual market prior to 2014.

Is it possible to escape the coverage…

November 12, 2015 – For healthy individuals in the coverage gap, one of the most obvious options is short-term health insurance. If you’re eligible, a… Read more


2016 Obamacare subsidy calculator

October 15, 2015 – An impressive 85 percent of Americans shopping in the exchanges will receive subsidies. If you're worried about the cost of premiums, use… Read more

The consumer protections in the ACA apply to all new individual policies, regardless of whether the coverage is sold in the exchange / marketplace.

Should you look outside the ACA’s…

October 15, 2015 – The consumer protections in the ACA apply to all new individual policies, regardless of whether the coverage is sold in the exchange /… Read more

Don't pay a penalty, get a quote.

Will you owe a penalty under…

October 4, 2015 – If you decide not to purchase coverage and remain uninsured, you can use the calculator on this page to determine the size of the penalty… Read more

Will you receive an Obamacare premium subsidy?

Will you receive an Obamacare premium…

October 2, 2015 – As we head into Obamacare's third open enrollment period, awareness of the law's premium tax credits (subsidies) continues to grow. But… Read more

All about Obamacare's cost-sharing subsidies

The ACA’s cost-sharing subsidies

October 2, 2015 – While the Affordable Care Act's premium subsidies help pay the cost of the health insurance itself, cost-sharing subsidies help to reduce… Read more

Obamcare means goodbye to 'job lock.' No one has to be stuck in a dead-end job just to keep their health insurance. Thanks to the ACA, anyone can enroll in coverage through the health insurance marketplace within 60 days of losing health insurance coverage, even if they leave their job by choice.

How Obamacare’s breaking the bonds of…

September 14, 2015 – No one has to be stuck in a dead-end job just to keep their health insurance. Thanks to the ACA, anyone can enroll in coverage through the… Read more

How Obamacare improves maternity coverage

How Obamacare changed maternity…

August 29, 2015 – Before the ACA made coverage guaranteed issue, pregnancy itself was considered a pre-existing condition that would prevent an expectant… Read more

Don't get taken by con artists misrepresenting health policies.

Avoid scams while shopping for…

August 27, 2015 – The ACA was signed into law in 2010, and almost immediately, scammers began looking for ways to make a quick… Read more

The ACA provides essential benefits.

Essential health benefits – standard…

August 26, 2015 – Under the health reform legislation that President Obama signed in 2010, those who purchase insurance in state-run exchanges won’t have… Read more is the official federal exchange.

The federal exchange option

August 16, 2015 – The Obama administration recently announced that about 120 health insurers have applied to sell policies on the federal exchange, which… Read more

Under Obamacare, high-risk health insurance pools have closed.

Health insurance and high-risk pools

August 12, 2015 – Now that the consumer protections in the ACA have been fully implemented, risk pools are no longer necessary the way they were in the past.… Read more

individual health insurance

Individual health insurance under…

August 5, 2015 – If you are self employed, or if your employer does not offer health insurance, you'll likely turn to the private market to purchase an… Read more

Obamacare makes same sex marriage a qualifying event

Marriage equality delivers equal…

July 16, 2015 – One more reason to celebrate: Getting married is now a qualifying life event for same-sex… Read more


Obamacare takes huge steps toward LGBT…

June 26, 2015 – "In states without non-discrimination policies, the Affordable Care Act is your non-discrimination protection. It means LGBT people can't… Read more

health insurance for college graduates

How to keep health coverage after…

June 10, 2015 – Even with graduation behind them, many college grads still have valuable lessons to learn about being a grown-up – and one of them is how… Read more

Alternatives to COBRA under Obamacare

Do you still need COBRA health…

June 6, 2015 – The combination of COBRA and the ACA present a solid array of options for people who are losing their employer-sponsored health insurance.… Read more

Obamacare and university and college students

Student health insurance: required…

June 2, 2015 – Clearly, students have a lot more coverage options as a result of the ACA. But how do you decide which option is… Read more

What qualifies as an exemption from the Obamacare penalty?

Obamacare penalty exemptions

March 2, 2015 – The IRS expects that 3 to 6 million people will be subject to the penalty for 2014, while 15 to 30 million will be exempt from the penalty… Read more

Penalties for not buying health insurance, ACA

The Obamacare penalty: facts and…

February 6, 2015 – Louise Norris talks with Andrew Sprung about the penalty consumers might face if they do not adhere to the Affordable Care Act’s… Read more

Should you keep that old grandmother health plan?

Grandmothered plans: love ’em or leave…

January 28, 2015 – Louise Norris explains grandmothered health plans: how they differ from grandfathered health plans, which states allow you to renew your… Read more

Obamacare no family left behind

No family left behind by Obamacare

January 6, 2015 – Somewhere between two million and four million people are impacted by the family glitch. They are disproportionately lower-income, because… Read more


Self-employed health insurance…

December 22, 2014 – It's important for the self-employed to know all the ways they can save a few dollars here and there. One obvious place to look is on their… Read more

In addition to premium subsidies, Obamacare offers cost-sharing subsidies.

Desperately seeking cost-sharing…

December 18, 2014 – In this segment, Louise Norris and fellow contributor Andrew Sprung explain the value of cost-sharing reduction (CSR)… Read more

Should you re-enroll in your Obamacare plan?

A look at Obamacare plan renewal…

December 12, 2014 – As part of our continuing coverage of the 2014-2015 Obamacare open enrollment period, we recently published a 38-page eBook, The Insider's… Read more

Would anyone choose a bronze plan?

For whom the (Bronze) bell tolls

November 21, 2014 – Does it in fact make sense for anyone to buy a Bronze plan? A plan with a $5,000 or $6,000 deductible may save a person with at least… Read more

What you don't know about health insurance can cost you.

What you don’t know can’t help you…

October 29, 2014 – Open enrollment starts on November 15, but 89 percent of uninsured Americans don’t know that. Two-thirds of the uninsured population… Read more

Its unlikely you'll have to repay an Obamacare subsidy.

Can you count on your Obamacare…

October 17, 2014 – What do Americans need to know about the recent court cases regarding subsidies in states that use the federally facilitated marketplace?… Read more

Obamacare open enrollment 2015-2016

12 reasons open enrollment will be…

September 24, 2014 – When the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment started in October 2013, there were a few shining stars that emerged quickly among the… Read more

Women get important health protections with Obamacare.

Women and health insurance

July 25, 2014 – For women in the US, health insurance has come a very long way in the last few years, thanks in large part to the dramatic improvements and… Read more

Do you need a separate cancer policy with cancer on the rise?

Will you need a cancer insurance…

July 18, 2014 – While the Affordable Care Act has greatly expanded coverage for millions of Americans – people with cancer cannot be denied coverage or… Read more

Getting the most out of your Obamacare policy

Getting the most from your new…

January 11, 2014 – The media have focused on the cost of the monthly premium. How much would you contribute per month on the various plans and would you get a… Read more

How to compare health insurance carriers.

Evaluating health insurance companies

October 1, 2013 – Before you start seeking health insurance quotes, it's prudent to take a look at the health insurance companies and their potential service… Read more

The difference between public health care exchanges, private, and the SHOP exchange.

Know your health insurance exchanges

September 23, 2013 – The ACA-created health insurance exchanges will be up and running in days, and while anticipation is running high, so is confusion. If… Read more

Obamacare health insurance marketplaces and how they work.

What is a health insurance exchange?

August 20, 2013 – Health insurance exchanges are set to launch across the United States on October 1 and bring radical change to how people shop for and buy… Read more

What to expect when shopping in the Obamacare exchanges.

Shopping in the exchanges: what to…

August 20, 2013 – Ever since the ACA was signed into law in 2010, "exchange" has been a buzz word in health care reform. But there's still plenty of… Read more

Truth, justice and consumer protection for health insurance purchasers.

Consumer protections under the ACA

August 20, 2013 – The health reform law did many other things besides mandate the creation of state health insurance exchanges – also known as health… Read more

Time to review your existing insurance policy, and maybe replace it.

Time to dump your health insurance…

June 14, 2012 – The sad truth is that any number of factors can change with your health insurance coverage after you've enrolled, and you shouldn't… Read more

How to buy medical insurance

How to buy health insurance

January 30, 2012 – Buying health insurance can be complicated, but like a lot of things, it's easier if you break the job into smaller tasks and work your way… Read more

Robin Beaton lost her health insurance because she got cancer.

Reform promises end to deadly…

June 2, 2011 – Industry practices that result in health policy cancellations may soon come to an end, thanks to health reform regulations that prohibit… Read more

Obamacare ushered in a new era for American health care.

Health care reform

October 31, 2010 – The ACA's reforms take huge steps toward removing obstacles to quality, low-cost health insurance for millions of… Read more

Buying health insurance if you are self-employed.

Self-employed health insurance

September 29, 2010 – The self-employed face a set of unique challenges in finding and keeping health insurance. We've provided answers for a few of the most… Read more

Private health insurance has been the America way for nearly 100 years.

Private health insurance

September 29, 2010 – Private health insurance continues to dominate the U.S. health care landscape. The majority of Americans under 65 continue to get their… Read more

Help get more people health insurance.

Reducing the number of uninsured

September 29, 2010 – For many Americans, getting off the rolls of the uninsured is a simple matter of getting information about coverage that's already… Read more