Health Insurance Blog -
5 easy ways to prepare for 2020 Open Enrollment
Thu, 10 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Open Enrollment for 2020 Marketplace coverage starts November 1, 2019. There are things you can do now to get ready, whether you’re applying for the first time or planning to re-enroll.

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How to get ready to enroll — quickly and easily!

  • Get familiar with the Marketplace by reading these quick tips. Find answers to your most common questions.
  • Download this checklist (PDF) to make sure you have everything you need. When you apply, you'll be asked about your household, income, and current coverage and may need to refer to specific documents, like W-2s, pay stubs, or tax returns. Gathering what you need now will save you time later.
  • Make a list of questions before it's time to choose your health plan. For example, "Can I stay with my current doctor?" or "Will this plan cover my health costs when I'm traveling?" Get tips on choosing a health insurance plan.
  • Set your budget. There are different types of health plans for different needs and budgets. You’ll need to figure out how much you’re able to spend on premiums each month, and how much you want to pay out-of-pocket for prescriptions or medical services. See how your total costs work together.
  • If you're planning to renew your current coverage for 2020, review your 2019 application to make sure it's still accurate. If it's not, update it with any income and/or household changes. This will save you time when you apply because your 2020 application will be pre-filled with your 2019 information.
Less than one month 'til 2020 Marketplace Open Enrollment!
Thu, 03 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0400

You have less than one month until you can enroll in a 2020 Marketplace health insurance plan. Here are important dates to remember and some things you can do to get ready.

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Key dates & deadlines

  • The 2020 Open Enrollment Period runs November 1–December 15, 2019. This means you have six weeks to enroll in or renew a plan.
  • Plan coverage starts January 1, 2019.

How to get ready today for November 1

Stay ahead of the deadline with 2020 Open Enrollment reminders
Thu, 26 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400

2020 Open Enrollment is almost here! You can apply for or renew your coverage November 1 through December 15, 2019. Sign up for deadline reminders, useful tips, and more so you don’t miss your chance to enroll.

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3 ways to stay connected with the Marketplace

  • Get important email or text updates. Visit the homepage, and enter your email address under “Get Important News & Updates.” Click “Sign Up.”
  • Connect with someone in your community who can answer your questions. Enter your ZIP code for a list of groups and people near you. Some even offer help in languages other than English.
  • Find us on social media. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for late-breaking news and important updates.
Key 2020 Marketplace enrollment dates & deadlines
Thu, 19 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Open Enrollment for 2020 Marketplace coverage is less than 2 months away! Make sure you don’t miss the deadline by adding these important dates to your calendar:

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2020 important dates & deadlines

  • 2020 Open Enrollment starts Friday, November 1, 2019.
  • The last day to sign up for 2020 coverage is Sunday, December 15, 2019.
  • Coverage for people who sign up during Open Enrollment starts January 1, 2020.

Note: All 2019 Marketplace plans end December 31, 2019, no matter when you enrolled.

Need coverage for the rest of 2019?

You may have other options to get or change coverage outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period. Answer these questions to see if you can apply or change through a Special Enrollment Period for the rest of 2019. You can also enroll in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) anytime. If you're eligible, coverage can begin immediately.

3 benefits Marketplace health plans must cover
Thu, 12 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400

All Marketplace plans cover essential health benefits, pre-existing conditions, and preventive care. This is true for all plan categories (all “metal levels,” including Catastrophic plans) and all plan types (like HMO and PPO). Starting November 1, 2019, you can enroll in or renew a plan for 2020, so you can continue to get these benefits.

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What are essential health benefits?

  • Essential health benefits cover doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospitalizations, pregnancy, and more. See the full list.
  • These benefits are covered by all Marketplace plans. Specific services covered in each broad benefit category may vary based on your state’s requirements.

Is treatment for my pre-existing condition covered?

  • All Marketplace plans must cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions. This means no insurance plan can reject you, charge you more, or refuse to pay for essential health benefits for any condition you had before your coverage started.
  • If you’re pregnant when you apply, an insurance plan can’t reject you or charge you more because of your pregnancy.

Are preventive health services included with Marketplace coverage?

  • Marketplace plans cover a set of preventive services, like shots and screening tests, which are free to you when delivered by a doctor in your plan’s network.
  • There are 3 sets of free preventive services for adults, women, and children. Check out the lists here.

Note: Health plans can offer other benefits, like vision, dental, or medical management programs for a specific disease or condition. You’ll see exactly what each plan offers when you compare on

Can you get health coverage for the rest of 2019?
Thu, 05 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period, you can only enroll in or change coverage if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for a Marketplace plan, Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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Do I qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?

If you experience certain types of life changes — like losing health coverage, getting married, or having a baby — you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a Marketplace plan for the rest of 2019.

If you know you qualify, create an account or log into an existing one to start a Marketplace application. If you’re not sure you qualify, answer a few fast questions to find out.

Do I qualify for Medicaid or CHIP?

You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time of year.

To apply, fill out a Marketplace application or apply directly through your state Medicaid agency. Get more information on applying for Medicaid/CHIP.

Kick off the school year with health insurance!
Thu, 29 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Nobody plans to get sick or hurt, but unexpected things happen even to healthy young people, so it’s important to get health insurance. As a college student, you have several options for coverage:

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Student health plans & other options

Even if none of these options work for you, you can apply for 2020 Marketplace coverage starting November 1, 2019. Check back soon for more information.

When can I enroll in a 2020 Marketplace plan?
Thu, 22 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Here are some important 2020 Open Enrollment dates to mark on your calendar:

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Key 2020 Open Enrollment dates

  • The 2020 Open Enrollment Period runs from Friday, November 1, 2019, to Sunday, December 15, 2019.
  • If you don’t act by December 15, you can’t get 2020 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
  • Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2020.

Looking for coverage for the rest of 2019? Answer these questions to see if you can apply through a Special Enrollment Period. You can also enroll in Medicaid or CHIP any time, if eligible. Coverage can begin immediately.

New baby? See your health insurance options
Thu, 08 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0400

If you or anyone in your household had a baby or adopted a child within the past 60 days, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in or change Marketplace health insurance for the rest of 2019.

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How to apply with a Special Enrollment Period

  • New to Create an account to fill out an application for the first time.
  • Already have Marketplace coverage? Log in to update your existing 2019 application.

When will coverage start?

When you enroll in or change plans with a Special Enrollment Period, your new health coverage can start the day your baby is born or adopted, even if you enroll in the plan up to 60 days afterward.

Note: If you adopted, you may need to submit documents, like adoption letters or records, showing the name of the person who became a dependent and the date they became one.

See the other ways you may be able to get coverage outside Open Enrollment.

Special Enrollment Periods: What you need to know
Thu, 25 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0400

You may still be able to enroll in health insurance or change plans for the rest of 2019 if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Here are 3 things you need to know about Special Enrollment Periods:

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3 tips on getting health coverage outside Open Enrollment

  • Certain life changes make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. If you experience life events, like losing health coverage, getting married, or having a baby, you may qualify to enroll or change plans for the rest of 2019. Check out the full list of events, or answer a few quick questions to see if you’re eligible.
  • If you qualify, you have a limited window to act. You usually have up to 60 days after the life event to enroll in a plan. If you don’t act in time, you’ll have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period to apply for 2020 coverage (unless you qualify for another Special Enrollment Period).
  • When you apply for Marketplace coverage through a Special Enrollment Period, you may be asked to provide documents to confirm the events that make you eligible. You must upload them before you can start using your coverage. You have 30 days to submit.

Learn more about getting coverage outside Open Enrollment.

Did you recently move to a new state?
Thu, 11 Jul 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Summer is a popular time for moving. If you recently moved to a new state, you can’t keep a health insurance plan from your old one. To make sure you stay covered, report your move to the Marketplace as soon as possible. This way, you can enroll in a new plan without a break in coverage and avoid paying for coverage you can’t use in your new state.

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How to apply for health coverage in your new state

  • Moving to a new state makes you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. This means you can enroll in new coverage or change plans even though the annual Open Enrollment Period is over.
  • How you apply depends on whether your new state uses or its own website. If your new state appears on this list, your state has its own website where you’ll apply.
  • If your state uses, follow these instructions to start a new application.

Note: If you move within the same state but new coverage options and savings aren’t available to you, update your profile anyway with your new address. This way, the correct one is on file.

Learn more about changing health insurance after moving.

This summer, put your health & well-being first
Thu, 27 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Summer is here! Here’s how you can be more proactive with your health this season:

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3 ways to maintain your health this summer

  • Take advantage of the preventive services offered by your Marketplace plan. Preventive services include screenings for things like cancer and depression, shots, and check-ups. Note: These services are free only when delivered by a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network.
  • Talk to your doctor about increasing your activity. Whether it’s going on a jog, taking your dog for a walk, or working in your garden, there are many ways to incorporate activity into your life. See other ways to increase your physical activity.
  • Make time for relaxation and sleep. A good night’s rest has many physical and emotional health benefits, and sleep deprivation can impact your mood and performance. Find out how much sleep you need.

Get more tips on improving your health.

Report household & income changes all year
Thu, 13 Jun 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Has your family, job, or income changed this year? If you're currently enrolled in a 2019 Marketplace plan and experience household changes, update your application as soon as possible. These changes could impact your health coverage or the savings you’re getting.

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What types of changes to report

  • Changes that affect your family size, like getting married or divorced, or having a baby
  • Changes that affect your household income, like changing jobs
  • Changes to the coverage that’s available to you, like becoming eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, or getting insurance through a job

Read the full list of life changes.

How to report life changes

  • Report changes to the Marketplace by updating your 2019 application.
  • Update your application online, by phone, or in person (just not by mail).
  • When you report a life change, you’ll get a new Marketplace eligibility notice. It’ll explain if you’re eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to change plans, get new savings, or enroll in a different kind of coverage.

Learn more about reporting changes to the Marketplace.

Calling all graduates: You likely have health insurance options
Thu, 30 May 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Congratulations, graduates! As you set out on your next life adventure, you may have several options for health coverage.

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3 ways young adults can get health insurance

  • With a Special Enrollment Period: If your student health plan is ending, you’re moving to a new state, or you experience other life changes, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Marketplace insurance for the rest of 2019. Answer a few fast questions to find out.

  • Under a parent’s plan: If your parent’s health insurance plan covers dependents, you can usually be added to their plan and stay on it until you turn 26. Learn more about getting on a parent’s plan.

  • Through Medicaid, if you qualify: If you’re working part time, starting a business, or otherwise are not making much money, you may qualify for Medicaid. If eligible, coverage can start right away, any time of year.

Get more information on health insurance options for young adults.

Income or household changes? Update your Marketplace application ASAP
Thu, 16 May 2019 00:00:00 -0400

If you're enrolled in a Marketplace plan and have changes to your income or household, update your application with these changes as soon as possible. Changes like higher or lower income, adding or losing household members, or offers of other health coverage may affect the coverage or savings you’re eligible for.

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What changes to report

  • Changes to your expected income for the year
  • Changes in health coverage, like someone in your household getting an offer of job-based insurance
  • Changes to your household or family, like a birth, adoption, or moving to a new address
  • Corrections to name, date of birth, or Social Security number
  • Changes in disability or tax-filing status

Check out the full list.

How to report changes

  • Update your application online, by phone, or in person — but not by mail. Here’s how.
  • Note: If you move to a different state, you’ll need to start a new Marketplace application. Learn more.

Get more information on reporting changes to the Marketplace.

Using your Marketplace insurance when you’re not sick
Thu, 02 May 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Did you know you can use Marketplace health insurance benefits even when you’re not sick? Here’s how you can take advantage of your health insurance benefits all the time:

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Get free preventive services

  • Most health plans must cover a set of preventive services, including shots, check-ups, and screening tests, at no cost to you.
  • Taking advantage of these services can prevent illnesses, disease, and other health problems, and detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best.

Get recommended health screenings

  • Marketplace plans cover chronic disease management and rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.
  • Schedule any preventive appointments you need in advance. This way, you’ll have them on the calendar, and they won’t slip your mind.
3 questions to ask your doctor
Thu, 18 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0400

It’s important to understand what services are covered by your insurance plan and what your costs may be before your doctor’s appointment. Here are some questions to ask:

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Does my health plan cover my current doctor?

  • Call your doctor’s office directly and ask if they accept your coverage. You can also check your health plan’s website and their provider directory.
  • You may also want to ask your plan if you need prior authorization before your visit. Without it, you may be charged for things your health plan would have paid for.

Does my health plan cover the services I need?

  • All private health insurance plans offered in the Marketplace offer the same set of essential health benefits, including prescription drugs, emergency services, and pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care.
  • Some plans may also offer additional coverage. If you have questions about whether a service is covered, contact your plan.

What will my costs be?

  • Most health plans give you the best deal on services when you see a doctor who has a contract with your health plan (also called an "in-network" provider). You may be able to see doctors who don’t contract with your plan (called "out-of-network" providers), but you may pay more out of pocket.
  • You can avoid any surprises before your appointment by taking the time now to learn which services in your plan aren’t subject to your health insurance deductible. Some plans charge only a copayment for primary care visits before you meet your deductible; others offer discounts on drugs, including generic drugs.
Only a few days left to file 2018 taxes
Thu, 04 Apr 2019 00:00:00 -0400

Tax day is right around the corner! Don’t miss the April 15, 2019 deadline to file 2018 taxes and report your health coverage. No matter how you got health coverage — whether through the Health Insurance Marketplace, your job, or another source — you must report your 2018 coverage status to the IRS when you file taxes.

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Get step-by-step directions & tax forms for your situation

You must file a federal tax return for 2018 — even if you usually don't file or your income is below the level requiring you to.

For instructions and forms for your situation, choose your 2018 health coverage status. Your next steps will depend on how you got health coverage last year.

Had a Marketplace plan in 2018?

If you or anyone in your household had Marketplace health insurance in 2018, you’ll use Form 1095-A to “reconcile” your premium tax credit on your 2018 taxes.

Can't find your 1095-A? Get help finding it.

2 steps to 'reconcile' your premium tax credit on 2018 taxes
Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0400

If you had a Marketplace plan and used advance payments of the premium tax credit (APTC) to lower your monthly payment, you’ll have to "reconcile" when you file your 2018 taxes.

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Step 1: Check Form 1095-A for accuracy

Make sure your coverage and household information on your Form 1095-A is correct. If anything is wrong, contact the Marketplace Call Center.

Also, check your SLCSP by looking at Part III, Column B of your 1095-A, titled “Monthly second lowest-cost Silver Plan (SLCSP) premium.”

The SLCSP premium is incorrect if:

  • Part III, Column B has a “0” or is blank for any month someone in your household had the Marketplace plan.
  • You had changes in your household that you didn’t report on your Marketplace application — like having a baby, moving, getting married or divorced, or losing a dependent.

If either situation applies to you, use our tax tool to get your correct SLCSP premium.

Step 2: “Reconcile” your 2018 taxes

Now that you've made sure your SLCSP premium is correct and your coverage and household information is accurate, you’re ready to file.

How to check your Form 1095-A
Thu, 07 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0500

If anyone in your household had Marketplace health insurance in 2018, you should have already received Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, in the mail.

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Before you file: 3 things to know about Form 1095-A

  • If you can’t find your 1095-A, check online. If your form didn’t come by mail or you can’t find it, check your online Marketplace account. When you follow these steps, be sure to choose your 2018 application, not your 2019 application.
  • Before you file, make sure your 1095-A is correct. Check basic health plan and household member information, and verify the premium for your second lowest cost Silver plan (SLCSP). If you find errors, contact the Marketplace Call Center. Don’t file your taxes until you have an accurate form.
  • You’ll use the information from your 1095-A to “reconcile” your premium tax credit. Once you have an accurate 1095-A and second lowest cost Silver plan premium, you’re ready to fill out Form 8962, Premium Tax Credit, and “reconcile.” You’ll compare the amount you used in 2018 to lower your monthly insurance payment with the actual premium tax credit you qualify for based on your final 2018 income. Get a step-by-step guide to reconciling.