When is Obamacare Open Enrollment? You can sign up for health insurance during the 2017 enrollment period, which runs from November 1, 2016, until January 31, 2017. Specifically:
- November 1, 2016 is the first day of Open Enrollment.
- January 1, 2017 is when your 2017 healthcare coverage begins.
- January 31, 2017 is the last day of Open Enrollment.
Obamacare Open Enrollment Definition
Now that you know when Obamacare open enrollment is, how about taking time to learn more about what open enrollment means for you? Obamacare Open Enrollment is the enrollment period during which Americans can purchase a health insurance plan in accordance with the mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare.
Although some policies are set to automatically renew, if you want to buy a different policy or make changes to your current policy—or if you missed the last open enrollment period—now is the time to start thinking about your health insurance plan.
Keep in mind that if you don't enroll on or before the deadline (January 31, 2017), you will not be able to enroll during the year unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Special Enrollment for Qualifying Events
A Special Enrollment Period is a period outside of open enrollment when you can change your plan due to a qualifying life event.
This can include a change in family status (including marriage, and having or adopting a child), loss of other healthcare coverage through a divorce or job loss, and other certain hardships. If you have experienced any of these, the Special Enrollment period will be open to you for 60 days to enroll or switch health insurance plans.
If you're unsure if you are eligible for the Special Enrollment period, contact HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. Any of our licensed agents can help you determine your qualification and help you enroll in a new health plan.
What if I Miss Open Enrollment and Don't Qualify for Special Enrollment?
If you need to cancel your health insurance plan for any reason, you will pay a penalty if you do not have coverage for more than 2 months of the year. The Individual Mandate was put in place to make sure that Americans are able to receive the healthcare they need without paying a tax penalty.
For families who did not enroll during Open Enrollment in 2016, you will have to pay a higher tax penalty than the previous year. When filing your 2016 tax return, you will have to pay:
- $695 per adult, or
- 2.5% of your household's income.
If you continue to lack coverage in 2017, the percentage-of-income penalty (2.5%) will remain the same. However, the flat fee will increase with inflation. There are a number of exceptions in place for those with religious objections, hardship exemptions, or members of a recognized Native American tribe.
What if I am Happy with My Current Plan?
If you are satisfied with your current health insurance plan, then you may not have to do anything at all during 2017 Obamacare Open Enrollment. However, you should pay close attention to your insurance premiums and the amount of subsidy you will receive because these may change from what you received during the previous year.
If you are not satisfied with your current plan or didn't buy a plan last year, then open enrollment gives you a chance to shop for a plan that fits your needs. HealthMarkets Insurance Agency can help you find a plan that meets your particular situation, and we can make the process simple and painless.
HealthMarkets is available 24/7 to help you search for plans online or over the phone. You may also meet face-to-face with a licensed representative, so you can get the help you need before you enroll. Still wondering when is Obamacare Open Enrollment and how you can find coverage in time? Find an agent near you today, or call (800) 360-1402 to have one of our representatives answer your health insurance questions.