open enrollment Open Enrollment is November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017

Now is the time to sign up for or change your health insurance policy. Many health insurance plans automatically discontinue after one year and even if they don’t this is the only time to make changes to your policy. This time period is an important feature of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program during which 3 million people may choose among several dozen health insurance plans for the coming year. If you have had a significant event in your life happen this year, such as a welcoming a new baby or changing jobs, now is the time to shop around for the best cheap health insurance available.
You may prefer to have an insurance plan other than the one your employer offers. Your employer’s plan might not include the doctor you would like, or other specific benefits, like full coverage prescriptions. If so, this is the time you are allowed to shop around for other plans available on the health insurance exchanges.
If you are buying health insurance on your own there a several options for purchasing a policy. You can purchase it directly from your state’s health insurance marketplace, from health insurance companies, from websites like, or from a health insurance agent. All enrollment plans must include some coverage for these 10 essential benefits:
• Outpatient car including chronic disease managementopen enrollment
• Emergency care
• Hospitalization
• Pregnancy and newborn care
• Mental health and substance abuse services
• Prescription drugs
• Rehabilitation services and devices
• Lab tests
• Preventative and wellness services
• Dental and vision car for children
The level of coverage for these services can vary, but all plans must give you a short, understandable description of what they cover and how the plan works. This is a good way to compare plans and benefits easily. You may also qualify for a premium tax credit based on income and family size if you qualify. For example, if you are a family of 4, in 2017 the income range is $24,300 to $97,000. If your income is within this range you can qualify for credits that can be applied to your monthly insurance premiums.
Open enrollment is critical for anyone wanting to purchase health insurance and avoid the penalties for not being insured. If you are not insured, the penalties which can be up to $2085, can be taken from your tax refund. There are many different plans to choose from that may offer you more than you have right now, so take the time to contact your health insurance agent and find the right plan for you. Having the right health coverage gives you confidence and peace of mind to face everything the coming year may bring.