Open Enrollment for Affordable Care Has Begun

Open enrollment for the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace Exchange has begun. The 2022 Open Enrollment Period runs from Monday, November 1, 2021 through Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Important Health Insurance Open Enrollment Dates to be Aware of

Here are a few important dates to know:

  • November 1, 2021: The first day to enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2022 insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
  • December 15, 2021: Last day to enroll in or change plans for 2022 coverage that starts January 1, 2022.
  • January 1, 2022: 2022 coverage starts if you enrolled by December 15, 2021 and paid your first premium.
  • January 15, 2022: This is the last day to enroll in or change plans for 2022 coverage. After this date, you can enroll or change plans only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
  • February 1, 2022: 2022 coverage starts if you enrolled by January 15, 2022 and you’ve paid your first premium.

Who is Eligible for Health Insurance

If you are under age 65 and not enrolled in an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, now is the time to choose a private health insurance plan or switch from your existing health insurance plan to a different private plan.

The Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, created the Federal and State exchanges. Prior to 2019, failure to enroll in a qualifying plan without being eligible for an exemption resulted in a financial penalty. Recent changes to the law no longer require that you have insurance, although some states, such as New Jersey, still mandate that most state residents do (there are exceptions).

How to Choose the Right Health Insurance

Navigating to the right plan can be tricky, especially if your state has its own exchange. Fortunately, there are resources to help guide you.

The Federal website is www.healthcare.gov. There, you can enroll in or renew a plan, get help finding a plan via an intuitive online tool, or be connected to a local resource who can help you find the right plan.

Both New York and New Jersey have their own exchanges. The New York exchange is called NY State of Health and can be found at www.nystateofhealth.ny.gov. The New Jersey exchange is called Get Covered New Jersey. Although the penalty for failure to enroll in these plans has been eliminated, there are still subsidies available if you qualify and can’t afford the premiums.

It’s important not to assume that nothing has changed in your plan and renew it blindly. Carriers come and go year after year, and benefits and costs change. Take advantage of the online tools, as well as any local help you can receive.

The ACA Open Enrollment Period is a relatively tight window to have to research and secure benefits. Last year 11.3 million people selected or re-enrolled in a plan during the Open Enrollment Period. Don’t wait until right before the deadline to enroll, or you might delay the start of your coverage in 2022.

This is the season for Open Enrollment Periods. In addition to the abovementioned ACA Open Enrollment Period, Medicare Open Enrollment is also happening now, and closes on December 7, 2021.

Don’t wait another day. Be sure you and your family have appropriate health coverage.

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