A Laymen’s Guide to getting Health Insurance on the Marketplace

Whether you plan on enrolling through the Health Insurance Marketplace this year or not there are a few key points everyone should be aware of. These points include the deadline to enroll for 2015 health coverage, the Special Enrollment Period, and the penalties for anyone without coverage.

Since the inception of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) there has been a monumental effort to educate people about what is involved in the program and how to shop for coverage. This year the challenge to educate the general public is going to be even more critical due to the shorter enrollment period.

Marketplace Timeline

Marketplace open enrollment is a period where uninsured U.S. citizens have the option to get health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It is also a period where individuals looking to change from their current insurance plan will have the opportunity to do so. The enrollment period is from November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015, for 2015 coverage. Although, if you enroll by December 15, 2014 your coverage will start January 1, 2015. The key take away: if you don’t enroll by February 15, 2015 you cannot enroll for 2015 coverage unless you meet the guidelines for the Special Enrollment Period. You may also be subject to some nasty penalties if you miss this date. To enroll: Click Here.

Open Enrollment

Special Enrollment Period

A limited group of people will qualify for the Special Enrollment Period. Here’s how it is written on the Healthcare.gov website, “In the Marketplace, you qualify for a special enrollment period 60 days following certain life events that involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage. Job-based plans must provide a special enrollment period of 30 days.”  The key take away: you have to apply for Special Enrollment, it isn’t guaranteed.

If you miss Open Enrollment

            So what happens if you miss the open enrollment period and you don’t qualify for the Special Enrollment period? Well a few things. First you still have the option to purchase a private insurance plan (ACA compliant), a job-based plan, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and some other types of coverage. To see a full list of programs that meet the law’s coverage requirements: Click Here. If you don’t have any of the plans mentioned above and didn’t get Open Enrollment coverage you will be subject to fees. It is stated on the Healthcare.gov website like so, “Most people must have health coverage or pay a fee. If you don’t have coverage in 2015, you’ll pay a penalty of either 2% of your income, or $325 per adult ($162.50 per child) — whichever is higher.” The key take away: Get coverage or pay the price.

For more information about the process visit www.healthcare.gov or follow one of the links below.

To get your open enrollment coverage:


Learn about plan details and prices that suit you:


Small business information for employers and employees: https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/







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