Everything You Need to Know About Open Enrollment for 2018 Health Insurance Coverage

Close up of Open Enrollment booklet and stethoscope

Open Enrollment is coming soon and it’s time to shop for health coverage for 2018. Many people may have heard of health insurance Open Enrollment, but are unsure of what it is and how it works. If you don’t get health insurance through your work or an organization, you’ll have to purchase your own coverage for you and your family, likely through the annual health insurance enrollment. Here’s what you need to know about Healthcare Open Enrollment, the health insurance deadline, and why you should sign up during Open Enrollment 2018.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is the time period when people can purchase health coverage for the following year if they don’t get health insurance through their employer, their spouse’s employer, or other private group. It was set up through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to provide low-cost health insurance options for the public to purchase through the Health Insurance Marketplace. It is also sometimes referred to as “Obamacare Enrollment.”

What is the Health Insurance Marketplace?

The Health Insurance Marketplace is where people who do not get health insurance through their job or cannot find a plan through a private insurer can purchase an affordable health insurance plan. It was set up through the ACA with the intention that everyone have access to low-cost health insurance. The cost of health plans within the Marketplace are determined by your annual household income and the amount of coverage you wish to purchase.

When is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment 2018 dates are from November 1st, 2017 through December 15, 2017. The insurance you purchase within that timeframe will be put into effect on January 1st, 2018 and will provide health coverage for you that year. If you miss the Open Enrollment deadline, you’ll only be able to purchase health insurance in the Marketplace is through Special Enrollment. Special Enrollment is available if you experience a major life change such as losing your employer’s insurance, had a baby, or experience some other qualifying life event that affects your health coverage.

Who Should Participate in Open Enrollment?

If you are over the age of 26 and do not have health insurance through your employer, your spouse’s employer, or a private insurer, you should enroll in a health insurance plan through Obamacare Open Enrollment.

Why Should I Sign Up for Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment is the prime time for you to purchase a new health plan for the upcoming year or make changes to your current coverage to reflect your needs. There are many important reasons why you should have health insurance, but ultimately it’s made to help protect yourself financially if you ever require medical care. It should also be noted you will be penalized and fined for not having health insurance if you don’t have a plan in place before the healthcare deadline or have a lapse in your coverage.

What Do I Need to Sign Up for Open Enrollment?

When you apply for Open Enrollment, you’ll need to provide information about yourself and other people in your household that you want covered in the health plan. You must able to provide the following items:

  • Home/mailing address of you and every family member applying for coverage.
  • The size of your household and the number of them applying for coverage.
  • Birth dates and other such information about everyone applying.
  • Social Security Numbers of all applicants.
  • Your best estimate of your projected household income for 2018.
  • The insurance policy numbers for any current health plans covering members of your household.
  • Tax information.
  • Employer and income information for every member of your household, such as pay stubs or W-2 forms.
  • A completed “Employer Coverage Tool” for every job-based health plan for you and any eligible person in your household.
  • Notices and documentation from your current health insurance plan, including your plan ID, if you have/had health insurance coverage in 2017.

Depending on your situation, you may have to provide additional information in order to get an accurate quote.

Where can I Sign Up and Apply for an Open Enrollment Health Plan?

Freeway Insurance can help! Get started by filling out this free health insurance quote form online. This will help us find you health insurance options that fulfill your needs at the lowest cost available. Remember, Open Enrollment for 2018 starts on November 1st, 2017 and ends on December 15th, 2017, so be prepared.

If you want additional information about Open Enrollment and health insurance coverage in general, Freeway Insurance is here for you. Give us a call at 888-971-6381 to get answers to your questions and let our licensed professionals guide you to a plan that fits your needs.