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Open Enrollment 2021: Everything You Need to Know

happy african american couple looking at tablet during open enrollment 2021

Health insurance open enrollment occurs every year. During that time, you can enroll in a new health insurance plan. If you miss open enrollment, you must wait until the following year to get coverage unless you qualify for the special enrollment period. Get the details, so you’ll be prepared to get insurance during open enrollment 2021. 

What Are the Open Enrollment Dates? 

Your open enrollment period depends on your state using the federal health insurance exchange or a state-run exchange. If your state uses the federal government’s insurance exchange, open enrollment 2021 runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2020. 

If you live in a state with its own insurance exchange, the start date is the same, but the open enrollment period lasts longer. For instance, the Covered California open enrollment period doesn’t end until Jan. 31, 2021. This extension is permanent, so California residents always have more time to get health insurance.

What Are Obamacare Premium Subsidies and Cost-Sharing Reductions?

When you get coverage through the open enrollment period, you might be eligible for premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions. Subsidies are based on income level and household size. If your household earns between 100–400 percent of the federal poverty level, you will receive a subsidy. You can use it on any plan. 

Cost-sharing reductions are available to those who meet the income requirements. Cost-sharing reductions are only available for Silver-tier plans. These reductions help you save on your deductible, copayments, and co-insurance. They also reduce the out-of-pocket maximum you can spend. 

Changes to Coverage in 2021

The Affordable Care Act states that all policies must provide ten essential benefits. States have more flexibility for policies that start in 2021, though. Now, they can choose from 50 benefits, allowing more coverage options. If you currently have coverage, your plan could change under this new rule. If you are unsure of your coverage, or want to explore your new options, speak to a licensed insurance agent.

When Does Coverage Start?

If you sign up for open enrollment in 2020 and pay your first premium, your coverage will start on Jan. 1, 2021. You cannot use your Obamacare benefits before that date. 

Do You Qualify for the Special Enrollment Period?

If you miss open enrollment 2021, you might be eligible for the special enrollment period. This period is open to people who have major life events, such as losing health insurance or getting married.

When Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

If you qualify for Medicare, you will follow a different open enrollment period. Medicare open enrollment started on Oct. 15 and ends on Dec. 7, 2020. During that time, you can get Medicare health coverage and a drug plan if you wish. 

Finding the Best Coverage During Open Enrollment 2021

With so many coverage options, it’s a good idea to get help when choosing a health insurance plan. Contact a licensed insurance agent and compare health insurance quotes. After comparing quotes, you can select a plan. Then, you will be protected when the new year begins. 

At Freeway Insurance, we can help you navigate the health insurance maze. Our licensed and experienced agents will help you apply for, select, and enroll in the health insurance plan that best suits you and your family. 

We can help you if you are a resident in California, Arizona, Washington, Florida, or Texas. Start your free quote online or give us a call today.

Have questions? See our health insurance FAQs.

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