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3 ways to get ready for 2019 Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment starts November 1. Here’s what you can do now to make the application process smoother.

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3 easy ways to prepare for 2019 Open Enrollment

  • Gather everything you need before you apply. When you apply for or renew your coverage, you’ll be asked to give household, income, and current coverage information. Save yourself time and stress by reviewing this Marketplace checklist (PDF) in advance to make sure you have everything you need.
  • If you have 2018 Marketplace coverage, review your current application to make sure it's still accurate. If it’s not, update your application with any income and/or household changes. If you don’t update your application, you might not get the right amount of premium tax credit or other savings. Starting November 1, you can access your pre-filled 2019 application based on the information you gave for 2018.
  • Set an Open Enrollment deadline reminder. Open Enrollment ends December 15. If you have a 2018 Marketplace plan, you may be automatically enrolled in the same plan (or a similar one) for 2019 if you don’t act by the deadline. This may not be your best option, so be sure to compare all available plans. Mark December 15 on your calendar so you don’t miss out on a plan that may be a better fit for you for 2019.

Never miss a deadline with 2019 Open Enrollment reminders

Open Enrollment for 2019 Marketplace health insurance runs November 1–December 15. Connect with us today so you don’t miss out on deadline reminders, useful tips, and other information about your health coverage.

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Stay up-to-date with the Marketplace

  • Subscribe to email or text updates. Visit the homepage and enter your email address under “Get Important News & Updates.” Click “Sign Up.”
  • Find someone in your area to answer questions. Assistors in your community with special Marketplace training are available to help you. Enter your ZIP code to see a list of groups and people near you.
  • Connect with us on social media. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for the latest updates.

When can I enroll in a 2019 Marketplace plan?

Open Enrollment for 2019 Marketplace coverage starts in just a few short months. Here are some important enrollment dates to mark on your calendar:

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Key 2019 Open Enrollment dates

  • The 2019 Open Enrollment Period runs from Thursday, November 1, 2018, to Saturday, December 15, 2018.
  • If you don’t act by December 15, you can’t get 2019 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
  • Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2019.

For other essential enrollment information, get a quick overview of the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Heading back to school? See student health insurance options

As you get ready for the upcoming school year, don’t leave health insurance off your back-to-school checklist. Getting health insurance may be more affordable — and simpler — than you think. As a college student, there are several options available to you:

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Ask your college about student health plans

Stay on your parent’s plan if you’re under 26

  • If a parent’s health insurance plan covers dependents (no matter whether they got their plan through their job or the Marketplace), you usually can be added to their plan and stay on it until you turn 26.
  • Learn more about staying (or getting on) a parent’s plan.

Get your own Marketplace plan

  • At, you’ll find a variety of plans and prices available to you. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for savings based on your income. But if someone will claim you as a tax dependent on next year’s tax return, you won’t be eligible for extra savings.
  • You may be able to get coverage for the rest of 2018 if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Answer a few fast questions to find out.
  • If you don’t qualify, you can apply for a 2019 Marketplace plan starting November 1.

3 ways to use your health plan when you’re feeling well

Health insurance isn’t only for when you’re sick. You can use it to maintain your health. Understanding how your coverage works before you need care can also make things easier if you get sick.

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Take advantage of free insurance benefits anytime

  • Get preventive services, like the flu shot or a depression screening, that are right for you.
  • Being proactive with preventive care can prevent illnesses, diseases, and other health problems, or detect illness at an early stage when treatment is likely to work best.
  • These services are free when delivered by a doctor or other provider in your plan’s network.

Even if you don’t need care right now, find a doctor you can trust

  • Taking the time to find a doctor you trust when you’re feeling well can save you stress when you get sick.
  • You usually pay less if you choose a doctor in your network. Visit your health plan’s website and check the provider directory to see who’s in your network.

Understand your costs before you need care

  • It’s important 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.
  • Knowing your costs up front can prevent the stress of unexpected costs later on.

Have a pre-existing condition? Your health coverage isn't affected

Did you know all Marketplace plans must cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes, and cancer?

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What’s a pre-existing condition?

  • A pre-existing condition is a health problem you had before the date that your new health coverage starts.
  • Pre-existing conditions include epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, lupus, sleep apnea, and many more.

Can a health insurance company deny me or charge me more for my pre-existing condition?

  • No. An insurance company can’t deny you, charge you more, or refuse to pay for essential health benefits because of any condition you had before your coverage started.
  • Also, Marketplace plans can't put annual or lifetime limits on your coverage.
  • Learn more about coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Is pregnancy treated as a pre-existing condition?

  • Yes. If you were pregnant before you applied, your insurance plan can't reject you or charge you more because of your pregnancy.
  • Once you're enrolled, your pregnancy and childbirth are covered from the day your plan starts.
  • Get more information on coverage for pregnancy and childbirth.

3 things to know about Special Enrollment Periods

The deadline to enroll in or change 2018 health insurance plans has passed. But you may still be able to enroll for the rest of 2018 if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Here are 3 important things to know about applying with a Special Enrollment Period:

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Certain life events make you eligible

You have a limited window to enroll

  • 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 from November 1–December 15, 2018, to enroll for 2019.

You may need to submit documents to confirm your eligibility

Learn more about getting coverage outside Open Enrollment.

Now that you’re covered, compare doctors in your plan

Your relationships with your doctors and other care providers can have a big impact on your health care. Now that you’re covered, there are resources to help you pick doctors, hospitals, and other providers that work for you and your plan.

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Find a doctor in your plan

  • To find out if a certain health care provider participates in your plan's network, call your insurance company or look at their website.
  • Using a doctor in your network usually saves you money.

Compare doctors & hospitals

  • These tools let you search and compare the quality of providers, hospitals, and other care facilities in your area.
  • In some states, certain Marketplace plans have quality ratings that can help you compare.

Get more information on using your coverage and improving your health.

POSTED JULY 26, 2018
Did your income change? Let the Marketplace know

If your household income has changed, you should let the Marketplace know as soon as possible. Your new income can affect the health coverage or savings you’re eligible for.

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Why update your application with income changes?

  • Did your income go down? You could qualify for more savings than you’re getting now. This could lower what you pay in monthly premiums.
  • Did your income go up? You may qualify for less savings than you’re getting now. If you don’t report the change, you might have to pay money back when you file your federal tax return.

How to report income changes

Get more information on reporting income and household changes after you're enrolled.

POSTED JULY 19, 2018
5 benefits Marketplace plans must cover

Did you know that all plans offered in the Marketplace cover the same set of essential health benefits? Essential health benefits are minimum requirements for all Marketplace plans.

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5 covered essential health benefits

Every Marketplace health plan must cover:

  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care, or care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services
  • Hospitalization (like surgery and overnight stays)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Laboratory services

Read the full list of covered essential health benefits.

Additional benefits

  • Plans may offer additional benefits, including vision and dental coverage.
  • To find out if a particular service is covered, call your insurance company.

POSTED JULY 12, 2018

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