Open Enrollment for health insurance in Pennsylvania goes from November 1 to December 15, 2018. During this period, insurance policy holders can adjust their coverage or enroll in new coverage that will take effect on January 1. Keep in mind that these dates vary by state, so if you do not live in PA, you’ll need to check the enrollment period that’s specific to your state.
How Can I See My Options?
There are two main ways you can shop for insurance: Visit the government Health Insurance Marketplace or explore options through a private provider.
- Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace – If your health insurance is not managed through your employer and you’d like to enroll in a government insurance program, you’ll need to create a gov account to get started.
- Plans Outside the Marketplace – HealthCare.gov also offers a plan finder page, where you can browse options that fall outside of the state or federal marketplace.
Exploring your options is an important part of finding the insurance plan that’s best for you.
What Happens If I Miss the Deadline?
If you do not renew or register for insurance by the deadline, you may need to wait an entire year before becoming eligible to apply again. There are, however, some scenarios that create exceptions to this rule. Getting married, losing existing coverage, or expecting a baby are all examples of circumstances that may qualify you for healthcare enrollment after the deadline passes. Other exceptions include: qualifying for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Additionally, if your health insurance is provided by your employer, starting a new job at any time will give you the ability to switch to the coverage plan provided by your new job.
My Employer Does Offer Healthcare. Can I Still Buy My Own?
In most cases, yes, you should be able to opt out of the coverage provided by your employer in favor of a different plan of your choosing. However, employer-sponsored health insurance typically costs less and sometimes offers extra perks—such as HSA savings contributions.
So, if you need to renew, update, or enroll in health coverage that is not provided by your employer, make sure you address these changes prior to the enrollment deadline. Failing to do so could result in loss of coverage for an entire year. And although there’s no longer a penalty fee for being uninsured, it’s still important to maintain coverage, so that you’re not stuck with unaffordable medical bills if you become injured or ill.