Finding Coverage

Coverage Options

If you don't have group coverage through an employer, you can buy individual coverage for yourself and your family directly from an insurer.

Where can I buy individual coverage?

You can buy individual coverage through:

  • an insurer directly. (View a list of companies selling individual plans.)
  • a licensed health insurance agent who has a relationship with one or more insurance companies.
  • Healthcare.gov, the online federal health insurance Marketplace.
  • Individuals, as well as small businesses, can find off-exchange plans using the Plan Finder on Healthcare.gov.
  • a Navigator approved to assist individuals with Marketplace enrollment.

Note: If your family earns between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL), you may qualify for a premium tax credit to reduce the cost of coverage. This tax credit is only available when you purchase a plan through the federal Marketplace.
Learn more about premium tax credits

When can I enroll in individual coverage?

You can enroll for individual coverage during open enrollment, which runs from November 1 to January 31. If you miss open enrollment, you may not be able to enroll until the next year's open enrollment period unless you have a qualifying life event.
Learn more about open enrollment | Learn more about qualifying life events and special enrollment

What rights do I have shopping for a plan?

An insurer:

  • cannot deny you health coverage during open enrollment.
  • cannot deny you health coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • can only decide your premium rate based on three factors: your age, where you live, and if you use tobacco.

An insurer must provide you with plan summary documents that allow you to compare plans:

  • a summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) provides plan provisions in a standard format,
  • an outline of coverage provides similar information to the SBC, but may provide more detail, and
  • health plan disclosures describe a plan's detailed terms and conditions, as well as other in-depth information on benefits, exclusions, and networks.

Other Coverage Options

Next Section: How to Compare Plans



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Last updated: 01/06/2017