Your Quick Guide to the 2022 Open Enrollment Period
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) ensures that all eligible Americans get an opportunity once a year to buy affordable health coverage for themselves and their families. This is known as Open Enrollment Period, and this year it is from November 1st to January 15th in most states. 97% of people on HealthSherpa qualify for a subsidy, and most pay less than $10/month for coverage.
The ACA also ensures that all plans available on the Marketplace offer the following key consumer protections:
For 2022, the Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1 through January 15, 2022 in most states.
Coverage purchased by December 15th will begin on January 1, 2022, and coverage purchased December 16 – January 15 will begin February 1, 2022.
You can shop available plans and compare prices here or enter your zip code below to see available plans.
Who is eligible to shop during Open Enrollment?
Not sure if you’re eligible to shop the Marketplace for an Obamacare plan? Good news: Most people are!
If you are a U.S. citizen, national or legal resident of the United States who currently resides in the U.S., you’re qualified to shop the Marketplace. This includes green card holders, refugees, asylees, and individuals with non-immigrant status who have a valid worker visa.
The only exceptions? If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare or currently incarcerated.
Grab our free step-by-step guide to enrolling in Marketplace coverage to learn more.
Keep in mind that if you are offered ACA-compliant health insurance by your employer and choose to opt-out of it and instead purchase your own Obamacare plan, you usually won’t be eligible for any subsidies and will need to pay full price for your monthly premiums. Because of this, if you have access to health insurance coverage through your employer, we recommend you utilize that instead of the Marketplace, unless your employer insurance costs more than 9.61% of your household income.
You can shop available plans and compare plan premiums here. Enrolling on HealthSherpa only takes an average of 15 minutes.
During Open Enrollment Period, anyone who’s eligible can enroll in a Marketplace health plan. The rest of the year is known as Special Enrollment Period (SEP), and you’ll need a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) such as losing your health coverage, having a child, getting married, or another change in household size or health coverage.
When can I shop the Marketplace during Open Enrollment?
In most states, Open Enrollment Period runs from November 1st, 2021 to January 15, 2022. Some states, however, have extended their Open Enrollment Period. This means that anyone living in these states will have extra time to enroll. Regardless of which state you live in, you can shop for a 2022 plan at any point during Open Enrollment.
So far for the 2022 OEP, the following states have Open Enrollment Periods ending the following dates:
- California: January 31, 2022
- Colorado: January 15, 2022
- Connecticut: December 15, 2021
- District of Columbia: January 31, 2022
- Idaho: December 15, 2021
- Maryland: December 15, 2021
- Massachusetts: January 23, 2022
- Minnesota: December 15, 2021
- Nevada: January 15, 2022
- New York: January 31, 2022
- Rhode Island: December 15, 2021
- Vermont: December 15, 2021
- Washington: January 15, 2022
- New Jersey: January 31, 2022
- Pennsylvania: January 15, 2022
We will update this list as any other states announce extended Open Enrollment Periods.
Will I have to pay a fine if I don’t have health insurance in 2022?
Congress repealed the penalty for having health insurance in 2018. That means in most states, you won’t have to pay a fine if you go without coverage in 2022.
However, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and DC have passed their own individual mandate, meaning you may have to pay a penalty to the state if you go without coverage for a certain period of time.
In any case, it’s a good idea to have health insurance—medical debt is the #1 reason people give for filing for bankruptcy.
What do I need when I’m ready to enroll?
You’ll need some basic information on-hand to get started with the Open Enrollment process.
First, you’ll need to provide information about your household, including household size (including anyone you claim on your tax return). For each of these people, you’ll need some basic information like birth dates, home addresses, and social security numbers.
Additionally, you’ll need information about your best estimate for your 2022 income, information on how you file your taxes if you have a spouse, information about your sources of income, and policy numbers from any current health insurance plans.
A note on immigration status
Although you’re providing information about every member of your tax household, you do not have to provide immigration status unless you yourself are applying for coverage. If you don’t have a social security number, you also do not need to provide this on your Marketplace application. It’s important to know that information about immigration status collected by the Marketplace is carefully protected and cannot be used for immigration enforcement. More generally, by law the personal information that you provide on this form can only be used to determine your eligibility for coverage and to enroll you in a plan, and must be stored securely.
If anyone in your household is a Permanent Resident, you’ll need their Resident Alien (A-number) ready. Typically, you will just need to enter the number, but you may need to upload the document so have it ready to scan in case you need it.
You can find out about what documents you will need for other eligible immigration statuses here.
What if I already have a plan from last year?
If you had Marketplace health insurance in 2021, you will be automatically re-enrolled in that plan for next year if that plan is still being offered. If that plan is no longer available, you’ll be enrolled in an “equivalent” plan. Although that might sound like the easiest way to approach OEP, it isn’t necessarily your best option. In fact, people who who shop and switch plans save an average of 38% on their monthly premiums.
Most insurers are expanding their coverage areas this year, which means there will be more plans available to you. Without shopping to compare what plans, and savings, are available to you this year, your premium payments may increase substantially. Plan details can change from year to year, too, meaning that prescription coverage, provider networks, and coverage benefits could change even if you keep the same plan. By shopping the Marketplace, you’ll find out what kinds of available plans might best suit your needs for the coming year, and what cost savings you will be eligible for with those plans. It only takes a few minutes to shop and compare your options, and this can keep you from paying more later.
What about subsidies, cost-sharing reductions, and tax credits?
Many Americans are eligible to save on their health insurance costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, 97% of people on HealthSherpa qualify for a subsidy, and most pay less than $10/month for coverage.
Depending on your income, you may also qualify for Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR), which are special savings built-in to Silver-level Marketplace plans for people who earn between 100 and 250% of the federal poverty limit. These CSRs limit and reduce out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles.
Remember that if you are married and do not file taxes jointly with your spouse, you will not be eligible for any subsidies or CSRs in the Marketplace.
How do I sign-up for Marketplace insurance during Open Enrollment?
Applying online through HealthSherpa, a certified enrollment partner of the government, is straightforward and simple. If you’re unfamiliar with HealthSherpa, know that we offer all of the same plans at the exact same prices as HealthCare.gov, the government’s enrollment site. The difference? We offer a simpler enrollment process, a website that’s easier to use, and have a phenomenal Consumer Advocate team on-hand to help you at each step along the way. Reachable by phone, email, and online chat, our Consumer Advocate Team are here to help both before and after you sign up for your new Obamacare plan. Our advocates are licensed health insurance experts with a background in advocacy, not salespeople.
It only takes an average of around 15 minutes to complete an application on HealthSherpa, versus an average of 56 minutes when using Healthcare.gov.
Of course if you have any questions before Open Enrollment begins or would like assistance in choosing a plan, please feel free to call our Consumer Advocate Team anytime at (872) 228-2549. We’re here to help you navigate the Open Enrollment Period process and find the best possible plan for your needs.
You can see plans and prices, and see how much financial help you’re eligible for, by entering your zip below.
What about other coverage options like Medicare and Medicaid?
You can apply for Medicaid year-round here—there’s no need to wait for an Open Enrollment Period. You can apply for Medicaid here.
If you’d like to enroll in Medicare, you’ll become eligible three months before your 65th birthday, and you may become eligible earlier if you have certain disabilities. You can learn more about Medicare and apply here.
If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare plan and you’d like to make changes to it, Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7. During this annual enrollment period (AEP), you can make changes to your coverage, such as switch between Original Medicare and a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice versa.
If you have any questions or need to enroll in Medicare, give our Consumer Advocate Team a call at (872) 228-2549