What to Know about Open Enrollment 2017

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 10.2 million Americans paid their premiums and obtained active coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace as of March 2015. By the end of 2016, HHS expects another 10 million to have obtained active coverage. More people than ever are getting covered, and the Open Enrollment period is fast approaching. This is the annual period where you can enroll in a health insurance plan, or adjust your current insurance plan through Healthcare.gov or your state’s Healthcare Exchange. Mark your calendars: this year’s Open Enrollment period runs from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.

Through Healthcare.gov, the Federal government's official health insurance exchange website administered by HHS, you can search for various types of health insurance plans. While on the site, you can compare health plans from a variety of providers. You may qualify for lower premiums and deductibles based on factors like your household income, where you live, and other basic demographic information. If your household earns less than four times the Federal Poverty Line, then you may also qualify for a subsidy to purchase health insurance.

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment period, you are eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan outside of the standard Open Enrollment period. To qualify for Special Enrollment or for Medicaid and CHIP you must have experienced certain life events such as: getting married, having a baby, or losing other health coverage. Medicaid and CHIP have additional eligibility requirements, including income level, age, disability status, and more. More information regarding the Medicaid and CHIP programs can be found on Benefits.gov. Visit Healthcare.gov for more information on Special Enrollment opportunities. To sign up or change your health care coverage, visit the Healthcare.gov site here.

Open Enrollment for 2017 health plans starts November 1, 2016. Important dates and deadlines to note are included below:

  • November 1, 2016: Open Enrollment starts—first day you can enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2017 insurance plan through the health insurance Marketplace. Coverage can start as soon as January 1, 2017.
  • December 15, 2016: Last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017.
  • January 1, 2017: Coverage for 2017 begins for those who enroll or change plans by December 15, 2016.
  • January 31, 2017: Last day to enroll or change a 2017 health plan. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

To apply, all you have to do is create an account and fill out an application, which will determine your eligibility results. Then, you can review the plans you may be eligible for, choose one, and enroll. It's easy, quick and will help you get important coverage for the medical events in your life.

Depending on where you live, your state may have set up its own Healthcare Exchange through which you can apply for and receive health insurance. To find out if your state has its own Exchange, select your state from a drop-down list on the Healthcare.gov website here. If your state does not have its own Healthcare Exchange, you can view plan options and apply for health insurance directly through Healthcare.gov.

Health insurance can help you receive medical treatment and reduce costs that you would otherwise pay out-of-pocket. If you don’t have health insurance, we encourage you to consider enrolling for a plan through Healthcare.gov by December 15, 2016. In the meantime, you can use our Benefit Finder tool to see what other benefits you may be eligible to receive.