Affordable Care Act
Updated October 2018.
There are many types of health insurance plans you can buy during the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Get information about the types of health insurance now available and select the health plan that’s best suited to your needs.
Off-Exchange major medical health insurance plans are generally not eligible for subsidies. Under Obamacare, people who do not qualify for or want a subsidy, but who want to avoid the tax penalty, can buy major medical health plans that meet ACA coverage standards on or off of government-run state exchanges. For 2018, eHealth reports that unsubsidized eHealth shoppers were quoted the following prices on average:
People who qualify for and want to use a subsidy to pay for a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) can research QHP plan data on some private exchanges and enroll in a plan if the private exchange meets the federal requirements for qualified health plans. In some states, consumers can do this online, while in others a person may have to help you enroll offline. You can also purchase a qualified health plan through your state’s government-run health insurance exchange or marketplace
Catastrophic plans are ACA-compliant health insurance plans primarily intended for people under age 30, and they cannot be purchased with a subsidy. Those who buy a catastrophic plan will not have to pay tax penalties for being uninsured, if they meet certain hardship exemptions, but their plans only provide the bare minimum benefits allowed under the law.
Many consumers want benefits beyond what’s provided in a major medical health insurance plan. Benefits like life, dental, vision, critical illness, and accident insurance are a popular part of benefits packages offered by employers and are available for individuals on private exchanges. Some government exchanges may offer some of these products as well.
The Affordable Care Act allows people to be uninsured for no more than two consecutive months without being subject to a tax penalty. The ACA also creates new enrollment periods when a person can enroll in major medical insurance. Outside of an enrollment period, people may have to wait to get coverage. Gap insurance products like short-term medical insurance may be helpful if you need limited coverage outside of the enrollment window.
The chart above only provides general guidance, but many exceptions apply, so your specific circumstances may vary. In addition, this information is subject to change.