Know these facts about open enrollment before you begin shopping for health insurance.

3 minute read

If you want to get a new health insurance plan or renew, change or update your current plan, the Healthcare Marketplace open enrollment period is from November 1 to December 15, 2021. During open enrollment, you can apply and enroll in a 2022 Marketplace health insurance plan. You may even qualify for a premium tax credit that lowers your insurance premium.

Before you make any health plan purchases on the Marketplace, make sure you understand how Healthcare Marketplace open enrollment works and how to find out if you’re eligible for a tax credit to save money on monthly premiums.

Below are four things to know about Healthcare Marketplace open enrollment.

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1. Open enrollment happens every fall

Every year from November 1 to January 15, open enrollment takes place on the Healthcare Marketplace at Healthcare.gov. During this period, you can enroll in a 2022 health insurance plan. Even though open enrollment lasts through January 15, don’t wait until the last minute to enroll if you want your health plan coverage to start on January 1, 2022. You must enroll in a 2022 Marketplace plan by December 15, 2021, for coverage that begins on January 1, 2022.

Find out: How to Appeal a Health Insurance Claim Denial

2. You may not be able to enroll later

If you miss enrolling in a 2022 health insurance plan during Marketplace open enrollment, you won’t be able to enroll until next fall unless you have one of these qualifying life events:

  • Losing your job
  • Moving to a new state
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Becoming a widow or widower
  • Aging off your parent’s plan
  • Having a baby or adopting a child

If you miss open enrollment and need health insurance later due to a qualifying life event, you may have 60 days prior to the event or 60 days after to enroll in a health insurance plan on the Marketplace with what’s known as a “special enrollment period.”

Find out: 5 Things That Can Cause You to Overpay Medical Bills – and How to Avoid Them

3. More people are eligible for premium tax credits

“More people than ever before” qualify for a tax credit to lower their premiums, even those who weren’t eligible before, thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, according to Healthcare.gov. The amount of your premium tax credit is based on the amount you provide to the Marketplace for your estimated household income for 2022.

2022 Marketplace savings information is available November 1, 2021, at Healthcare.gov. To get an idea before that date of whether you may qualify for a premium tax credit, visit Income Levels and Savings at Healthcare.gov. If your household income meets tax credit eligibility requirements, you may be able to save significantly on health insurance premiums.

Find out: 6 Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Identity Theft

4. You may also qualify for cost-sharing reductions

In addition to any premium tax credit you receive when you enroll during Marketplace open enrollment, you may also qualify for extra savings. You may be eligible for “cost-sharing reductions” that allow you to pay lower out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance for medical services.

“If you qualify for cost-sharing reductions, you also have a lower out-of-pocket maximum — the total amount you’d have to pay for covered medical services per year,” according to Healthcare.gov. “When you reach your out-of-pocket maximum, your insurance plan covers 100 percent of all covered services.”

Find out: 5 Tips to Start Paying Off Your Medical Bills

How to get local help with Marketplace health plan decisions

If you’re ready to enroll in a Marketplace plan and want to discuss health plan choices with a local health insurance agent or broker, enter your information at Get Help Applying & More at Healthcare.gov. An agent or broker will contact you, usually within the same business day.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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