Open Enrollment is the Best Time to Get Covered:
The current Open Enrollment Period for California begins on November 1, 2016 and ends on January 31, 2017. Important: You must sign up by December 15, 2016 if you need your coverage to begin on January 1st, 2017.
After January 31, 2017, the Open Enrollment Period is over and you cannot get a Marketplace Plan until the next Open Enrollment for 2018. There is one exception though. If you have a Qualifying Life Event, such as a major life change -- including a new child, marriage/divorce, change in jobs/employment status, etc. -- you should be eligible to enroll in a Marketplace Plan even if you missed Open Enrollment.
What if you do not have a Qualifying Life Event? Your best option is to obtain health coverage through a Short Term Plan. Though Short Term Plans get you coverage, unlike Marketplace Plans you can be denied for preexisting conditions. You also may not be exempt from paying the tax penalty for not having a Marketplace Plan. Read more about penalties below.
When Does My Coverage Begin if I Signed Up During Open Enrollment?
If you sign up during the first 15 days of the month, your coverage will begin on the first day of the next month following enrollment. (Example: You sign up on Dec. 10, 2016; your coverage begins on January 1, 2017.)
If you sign up on or after the 16th of the month, your coverage will begin on the first day of the second month following enrollment. (Example: You sign up on Dec. 17, 2016; your coverage begins on February 1, 2017).
What Happens If I Do Not Sign Up?
Even though there are options, the best time to get covered is during the Open Enrollment Period. The reason is not only to secure your health coverage, but to also avoid paying the penalty for not having a Marketplace Plan.
If you do not sign up for a health insurance plan in 2017, you face a fee that will be assessed on your 2016 federal income tax return. For 2017, the penalty is the greater of either (1) 2.5% of your household income or (2) fines for each member of your household ($695 /adult, $347.50/child) with no household limit.
Clearly, the best time to sign up for health insurance is during the Open Enrollment Period -- and AffordableCareCalifornia.org makes it easy for you to shop and compare nearly every Marketplace Plan available. So do not wait -- start now!
Important Notice For Those Already Covered:
If you enrolled in a Marketplace Plan last year, your coverage ends on December 31, 2016. You must renew your current plan or sign up for a new one to continue receiving health insurance. To ensure you have uninterrupted health care coverage, and avoid any potential fees, you need to renew your current plan or choose a new one by December 15, 2016. Please begin the process by entering your zip or calling 855-597-0385.