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Health Insurance 101
Health insurance can be confusing, especially if you are purchasing individual or family coverage for the first time. That’s why we want to help you understand your options when it comes to health insurance, including common health coverage and medical terms used in plan documents and basic information about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Our goal is to provide you with the resources and tools you need to choose health insurance coverage that is right for you, your family, your business, your needs and your budget.
Information for Individuals & Families
The healthcare reform law, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was signed into law in March 2010 and is bringing many changes to the way consumers shop for and purchase health insurance and the plans and benefits offered by health insurance companies.
Some of the changes under the ACA include:
All individuals are required to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty.
Individual health insurance plans are effective through the end of a calendar year.  This means you must shop for and purchase individual health coverage each year during the open enrollment period.
The open enrollment period to shop for and purchase individual health insurance coverage for 2017 is November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017.  This means that in order to secure coverage for 2017, you must purchase a plan within this enrollment period.
Between February 1 and October 31, you can only enroll in a plan if you have a Qualifying Event that creates a Special Election Period. Voluntarily quitting other health coverage or being terminated for not paying your premiums are not considered loss of coverage. Losing coverage that is not minimum essential coverage is also not considered loss of coverage.Qualifying life events that create a special enrollment period include:
  • Getting married;
  • Having, adopting, or placement of a child;
  • Permanently moving to a new area that offers different health plan options; or
  • Losing other health coverage (for example due to a job loss, divorce, loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, expiration of COBRA coverage, or a health plan being decertified).
Information for Small Group Employers (2-50 employees)
Although some mandates of the ACA apply to all employer groups, others depend on the number of employees you have. Learn more about these mandates here.
Other Resources