The Affordable Care Act requires that all Americans (with a few exceptions) buy health insurance, or be subject to a penalty. It's also important to protect you and your family from medical costs.
When can I buy health insurance?
You can only buy health insurance during open enrollment, which happens once per year. Outside of this time window, you can only buy individual or family health insurance if you qualify for a special enrollment period.
Outside of open enrollment, you need to have a special qualifying event to purchase health insurance (i.e. having a baby, getting married, or losing a job).
What does it cover?
The Affordable Care Act requires that each plan cover essential health benefits, which includes free preventative care, including basic vaccines, screenings and doctor visits.
How can I choose a plan?
Finding the right plan to fit your needs can be difficult, especially since it's hard to know what's to come in the upcoming year. To compare, policies are grouped into four metal tiers: bronze, silver, gold, or platinum.
|METAL TIER||WHAT YOU PAY||WHAT PLAN PAYS|
Depending on your income, you may qualify for premium subsidies. Plans in the higher metal tiers have higher monthly premiums, but you pay less when you need medical care.
If you are relatively healthy and rarely get sick or injured, then a bronze might be the best fit.
If you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, take prescription drugs or have a chronic condition, then a higher metal tier like gold or platinum might be the best fit.
Deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance are other coverages you should look at before making your decision.
Lastly, check with your doctor and local hospital. What insurance do they accept? You'll want to make sure they're in network. This will also help determine whether an HMO, PPO, or EPO would be the best fit.