Open enrollment for the plan year 2017 runs November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017. For coverage to start beginning January 1, you must enroll in your selected policy by December 15th. If you enroll in a policy in January or February and pay your premium by the 15th of the month, you will qualify for insurance beginning the following month. If a person has not enrolled during open enrollment and does not have other health insurance, they may be subject to a financial penalty unless they meet an exemption criterion.
Please note that you cannot enroll in the Marketplace after the annual open enrollment closes unless you have a qualifying life event such as a loss of a job, a birth of a new baby, moving to a new state, etc. which may allow you to have a special enrollment period not during the annual open enrollment time.
Individuals who are not happy with their employer-based insurance coverage have the option to decline employer coverage in writing and enter the Marketplace instead. However, unless the employer-based plan is unaffordable (costs 9.5% or more of the individuals annual salary) and meets minimum value (designed to pay an estimated 60% of average users medical costs) he or she will not be eligible to qualify for premium/tax credit assistance on a plan purchased in the Marketplace.
The actual Marketplace platform may look slightly different from state to state, but will have similarities in terms of levels of coverage (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) and will indicate which items are included or covered in policies.
Please note that some individuals will qualify for additional out-of-pocket cost savings for co-pay or deductible separate from the premium tax credit saving. Eligibility will be calculated based on family income and household size, but individuals will only receive cost savings if they select a Silver level plan. To learn more about the Marketplace and how to PLAN your coverage, please see Insurance Marketplace under the heading of Non-Medicare Insurance.