What You Need to Know About Open Enrollment
The Open Enrollment Period for 2017 begins on November 1, 2016 and ends on January 31, 2017. All Americans must have health insurance or face a fine.
Important: In order for your coverage to begin on January 1, 2017, you must enroll by December 15, 2016.
Important: If you currently have a 2016 Government Plan, for 2017 you have to renew your existing plan or enroll in a new one. You will not be automatically re-enrolled.
You will not be able to sign up for a Government Health Plan until the next Open Enrollment Period. The only exception is that if you experience certain life changes after Open Enrollment -- known as “Qualifying Life Events” -- you could be re-eligible to enroll.
To minimize your chances of not having health insurance, it is highly recommended that you do not miss the Open Enrollment Period and enroll immediately during this time.
What If I Don’t Sign Up for a Health Plan?
If you do not have health insurance in 2017, you stand to face a fine in the form of a tax penalty on your federal income tax return.
The penalties are whichever of the below two is the greatest amount:
- 2.5% of your household income; or
- $695 per adult / $347.50 per child, with no household limit
The Affordable Care Act was designed to ensure that all Americans have health insurance. To make sure no one is uninsured, health care has to be truly attainable and affordable. That is why you cannot be denied coverage for preexisting conditions, and your costs could also be greatly lowered by subsidies -- or “discounts” -- if you meet certain income guidelines.
Universal and affordable health care can only work if everyone is covered. Remember that uninsured patients can become very costly for everyone. That is why you can be penalized for not having coverage. If you miss the Open Enrollment Period and have a Qualifying Life Event, you can still get a government health insurance plan during the Special Enrollment Period.
When Does My Coverage Begin?
If you enroll during the first 15 days of the month, your coverage begins on the first day of the following month. For example, if you enroll by January 15, 2017 your coverage will begin on February 1, 2017.
Enrolling during the last half of the month means your coverage begins on the first day of the second month. For example, if you enroll on December 16, 2016, you will have to wait until February 1, 2017 for your coverage to begin.
What If I Missed Open Enrollment or I am Not Sure About My Eligibility?
If you missed Open Enrollment, you may be eligible for the Special Enrollment Period. Learn more about getting health coverage outside of Open Enrollment here.
If you are not sure about enrollment, enter your zip code and fill-out the 1-page application to see the insurance carriers that best match your eligibility. You can also call (800)-414-8940.