When can I buy health insurance?
Open Enrollment is the yearly period when people can enroll in a health insurance plan.
Outside of open enrollment, you need to experience 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 (ACA) requires that each plan cover essential health benefits, which includes free preventative care, coverage for prescription drugs, mental health care, and emergency services.
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|
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.
On exchange vs. off exchange
Depending on your income, you may qualify for premium subsidies.
On-exchange means plans that are available through your state marketplace. If you qualify for a subsidy, then shopping on-exchange is your best option to get financial assistance with your premiums.
Off-exchange means those plans that are available outside of the state marketplace, or in the open market that you purchase from the company directly. The number one benefit of shopping off-exchange is greater plan choice. If you don't qualify for a subsidy, the advantages of shopping off-exchange is substantial.