If you used the marketplace to purchase a plan last year.
Most people who purchased their 2014 insurance plan from an online marketplace will be able to automatically renew their coverage for 2015. (This does not apply to states that have decided to scrap their exchanges and start over, including Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon.) While automatic renewal sounds convenient, it has serious downsides:
- If your insurer decides to cancel your current plan, you could be switched to another plan without warning. The new plan may cost you more or change your eligibility for financial assistance.
- Automatic re-enrollment could mean you aren’t getting the right subsidy package. That could leave you facing higher monthly premiums now or — if you take more assistance than you’re eligible for — a big tax bill later.
- You may miss out on a better deal or better coverage if you don’t compare all available plans to your current plan.
While allowing yourself to be automatically re-enrolled is better than going without insurance, it’s best to take advantage of open enrollment and research your options. Shop around and evaluate new plans and costs. Even if you decide to stay with the plan you have, you can use open enrollment to confirm your personal information and ensure you’re getting the right amount of financial aid.
If you purchased an individual or family insurance plan outside the online marketplace.
As long as the plan meets Obamacare’s coverage requirements, you can keep it. Or, you may use HealthCare.gov to compare plans and replace it. If you keep your current plan, you won’t be eligible for the cost-saving subsidies available for plans purchased through the exchange.
Be sure to check with your current insurance provider before canceling a health insurance policy; you may have to wait until the end of your current policy year to make a change.
If you have insurance through an employer.
As long as you’re happy with your plan, you can keep it. You’re considered covered under Obamacare. On the other hand, if you’re not satisfied with the coverage you have, you may be able to switch to an individual plan through HealthCare.gov.
Keep in mind that if you buy a plan through the exchange:
- Your employer will not have to pay a portion of your monthly premiums.
- You may not qualify for cost-saving subsidies, even if your income falls within the eligible range. If your employer offers coverage that is considered affordable and sufficient under the law, you won’t qualify to save on premiums or out-of-pocket costs for plans purchased through HealthCare.gov.