ObamaCare open enrollment starts November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. During the open enrollment period you can enroll, switch plans, and get subsidies. Open enrollment is the only time of year you can get a major medical plan that count as minimum essential coverage in the individual and family market without qualifying for a special enrollment period. This is true both inside and outside the health insurance marketplace.
• There is an annual open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplace each year. This year open enrollment 2015 runs from November 15th, 2014 to February 15th, 2015.
• Open enrollment is the only time that you can enroll in a plan, change plans, or apply for cost assistance unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. All Private Health Plans share the Health Insurance Marketplace’s open enrollment period, while other types of plans like employer based coverage, Medicaid, and Medicare have unique enrollment periods.
• The only way to get subsided insurance is by enrolling in the health insurance marketplace.
• The only way to avoid the per-month fee for not having insurance is to obtain minimum essential coverage and maintain it throughout the year or to qualify for an exemption. All marketplace coverage counts as minimum essential coverage.
• To avoid the fee for 2014 you needed to get coverage that started by May 1st, 2014. To avoid the fee moving forward you’ll need to maintain coverage for each month throughout the year, although you are allowed grace period of up to three months in a row without coverage. If you don’t have coverage by 2015 you’ll need to enroll in a plan during open enrollment to avoid the fee.
• You can apply for special enrollment all the way up until open enrollment starts each year. So don’t hesitate to contact your health insurance marketplace outside of open enrollment if you have lost coverage for any reason.