Even though it’s been the law for more than five years now, it’s hard to stay on top of all of the changes resulting from the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For example, in the past, you could buy an individual or family policy any time. That is no longer the case unless you have a special enrollment event. With the ACA, a limited "open enrollment" period has been implemented.
To get a new individual or family health insurance policy in Wisconsin for coverage in 2018, here are some dates to remember –
- November 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017 – Open Enrollment
If you have an individual or family health insurance policy, you must sign up for insurance during open enrollment to be insured in 2018 (unless you have a special enrollment event). This means getting a policy for the first time, renewing an existing policy or switching to a different health insurance policy. In Wisconsin, you can use Unity’s Get A Quote tool to see if you qualify for help with your costs, explore plan options, add dependents to an existing plan or enroll in a plan
- October 2017 – Renewal Notices will be sent to existing Individual plan subscribers
Insurance companies must begin sending renewal notices reminding members to review their health insurance plan options for 2018. Members may change plans or keep the same plan, as long as they make the decision during open enrollment
- December 15, 2017 – Last day to enroll in health insurance coverage for January 1, 2018
If you want health insurance coverage to begin on January 1, 2018, you need to sign up by December 15. If you do not, your coverage may start later in 2018. Also, if you purchased your plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should update your information at healthcare.gov by this date to ensure you get the financial assistance you may qualify for
To make sure you have your health insurance information for the new year, it’s a good idea to sign up or renew as early as possible.
What if I Don’t Sign Up for Health Insurance During Open Enrollment?
If you buy your own individual or family plan you should sign up during open enrollment. If you don’t sign up during open enrollment, you may be liable to pay a penalty. You will pay this fee when you file your 2017 taxes. Learn more about what it may cost you to not have coverage. If you don't qualify for a special enrollment period, you may also have to go without health insurance until open enrollment begins for 2018.
IS OPEN ENROLLMENT THE SAME FOR EVERYONE IN WISCONSIN?
- If you work for the State of Wisconsin, your open enrollment period is different each year. This includes state employees, UW Hospital & Clinics employees, graduate assistants, State of Wisconsin annuitants or continuants, and local government participants.
- In addition, you may get health insurance outside of the Open Enrollment Period if –
- You become eligible for Medicaid (BadgerCare Plus)
- You change jobs and need to sign up for a different employer-based health insurance plan
- You become eligible to be covered by Medicare and want to purchase a Medicare Supplement Policy
- You qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (based on major life changes – marriage, divorce, birth or adoption, etc.)
- You are an employer with 100 or fewer employees – you can purchase a group policy for your business outside of open enrollment only if you meet the health insurer’s participation standards
- You are an employer with 101 or more employees – you can purchase a group policy for your business at any time during the year
If you have questions about open enrollment or you’re still unsure about when you can sign up for health insurance without paying a penalty, give us a call at 800.362.3310. We’re happy to help.