Facts About Health Insurance Open Enrollment for 2016



When searching online for information regarding the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment; there is so much information it can become overwhelming.  We have put together a quick and easy fact sheet to help better understand the Affordable Care Act and some of the upcoming important dates.   Follow these guidelines when searching for information about the upcoming open enrollment and better understand how to buy healthcare plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act. Let guide you through the purchase process so you can be confident you are seeking out the best possible plans on the market. 

  • What is open enrollment?

It’s the only time during the calendar year that you can enroll in an ACA-compliant health insurance plan, switch plans or apply for tax-payer funded cost assistance through a state or federal exchange.

  • When is open enrollment?

Open enrollment for 2016 starts November 1, 2015 and ends January 31, 2016. Note that open enrollment has been extended in the past, but there’s no guarantee that it will be extended for the upcoming year.

  • When can coverage start?

Coverage for plans purchased during 2016 open enrollment can begin no sooner than January 1, 2016. If you need coverage sooner, consider a short-term health insurance plan.

  • What happens if you miss the open enrollment deadline?

You may be able to qualify for a special enrollment exemption based on one of several qualifying life events such as a change in marital status, family make-up, moving outside your current plan’s coverage area and losing employer-provided coverage.

  • Where can you buy coverage during open enrollment.

You can purchase an ACA-compliant plan directly from an insurance carrier or through your state exchange/marketplace, or, if you state doesn’t have an exchange, through the federal All plans are provided by private insurance companies, regardless of where you buy them. However, if you think you qualify for a tax credit or subsidy, those are only available via plans purchased from a government exchange. You can compare health care plans online and purchase directly here.

  • Who has to enroll in an ACA-compliant plan?

With few exceptions, any U.S. citizen or legal resident must enroll. That includes anyone older than 26 who isn’t covered by a parents’ health insurance and anyone who doesn’t have health insurance through an employer. If you’re eligible for Medicare or Medicaid or are a veteran who can get coverage elsewhere, you don’t need to enroll.

  • What is the tax penalty for 2016?

Failure to enroll in a compliant plan will be assessed at $695 per adult and $2,085 per family, or 2.5% of income, whichever is greater. Any penalties will be subtracted from any income tax refund you have due.

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