The Open Enrollment Period for the Marketplace (aka Obamacare, HealthCare.gov, ACA, healthcare exchange) is November 1, 2023 to January 16, 2024. The last day is usually January 15th every year, but was extended this year to account for the federal holiday on the 15th.
During Open Enrollment, anyone who is eligible can sign up for health care coverage that will start on January 1, 2024 if you enroll by December 15, 2023. Enroll during the last month of Open Enrollment (Dec. 16, 2023 to Jan. 16, 2024) and your healthcare start date is February 1, 2024.
In this article:
- 3 questions to ask yourself before signing up for Marketplace
- Information needed for a Marketplace application
- Marketplace savings
- Medicaid enrollment
- Employer insurance enrollment
- Medicare enrollment
In order to sign up on the Marketplace ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Am I eligible for Medicaid? If yes, you are not eligible to enroll with tax credits on the Marketplace. If you live in a family with children, your children may be eligible for Medicaid/MIChild/Healthy Kids while parents may be eligible for the Marketplace / HealthCare.gov.
You are eligible for Medicaid if your income is at or below a certain amount called the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Federal Poverty Levels change each year and are determined by your household income and household size. The income level for children to qualify for Medicaid/MIChild/Healthy Kids is different than the qualifying income level for adults. Check our Federal Poverty Level Guides to see if you or the children in your tax household qualify for Medicaid.
You can still choose to sign up for a Marketplace plan without tax credits, but your monthly payments will be higher. If you are eligible and enroll in Medicaid, your health care costs will be significantly lower.
- Does my employer offer affordable insurance? If your employer insurance is less than 8.39% of your income for the lowest-priced, ACA-compliant employee-only plan, you are not eligible to enroll with tax credits on the Marketplace. However, if you are eligible for Medicaid, you can choose Medicaid instead of your employer insurance.
- Do you have income and are you filing taxes? You must report your income to sign up for Marketplace/HealthCare.gov plan. If you don’t have a tax return from the past year, don’t worry–you can still sign up for a Marketplace/HealthCare.gov plan, and you save on your monthly payments with advanced tax credits. Advanced tax credits are given to you ahead of time based on your self-reported income. However, in order to continue receiving those tax credits off your monthly payments, you must file taxes in the coming year and reconcile the tax credits on your return (even if your income was so low that you were not required to file). This means you need to report what your income ended up being, and if HealthCare.gov awarded you more tax credits than your income needed, you pay the difference back. Read about reconciling tax credits here.
Information needed for a Marketplace application
Gather your documents to get ready to enroll
The next step is to gather the documents and information you will need to complete a Marketplace application and select your health care plan. You will need the following:
- Names and social security numbers for everyone in your tax household applying for health insurance. You do not need social security numbers for people who are not applying. Your tax household includes anyone you will claim on your tax return.
- Earned income information: recent pay stubs for everyone who is working or self-employment records (Schedule C from the previous year’s tax return).
- Unearned income information: unemployment payments, pension, retirement, real estate income, social security (RSDI or SSI) income or capital gains.
- Most recent tax return including all Schedules.
- List of doctors.
- List of prescriptions.
- Marketplace Account information: user ID and password.
- If you don’t have an account and need to create one, you will need an active email account that you can access immediately. You must be able to log in to the email to access a verification email.
Then, estimate your income for 2023. For some people this is easy, but for anyone whose income varies during the year, it can be tricky. (If you need help with this step, you can contact us for help or check out our post, How to Report Income: Annual vs. Monthly Income).
Now, go to the Marketplace website, HealthCare.gov, complete an application and select your 2024 health care coverage.
Each year Marketplace plans have become more affordable and new financial assistance options have become available. This year, 4 out of 5 people will find a plan for $10 or less a month after financial assistance. Some people might even pay $0 a month for their premium. This even applies to people who may have been ineligible for financial assistance in the past. You’ll find out what tax credits and financial assistance you qualify for during the application process.
Check HealthCare.gov’s Low Cost page to see if your income level qualifies you for extra savings on Marketplace premiums, or if you might qualify for Medicaid or MIChild (CHIP). You won’t need an account or to give more of your personal information to find out.
Medicaid Enrollment is Always Open.
You can always apply for Medicaid.
Anytime during the year you become eligible, you can apply for Medicaid. No qualifying events, no special enrollment periods. Check your income here and apply here. As always, if you have questions, call us at 734-544-3030 or send us a message.
Employer Insurance – Enrollment varies
If you are offered health insurance through your job, chances are your open enrollment period is in the fall with a January 1, 2024 start date. Some employers (schools, universities, businesses with fiscal years based on other calendars) may have open enrollment during other times of the year.
Evaluate your options every year.
Each year your employer negotiates new benefit packages with health, dental and vision insurance companies. Your open enrollment may also include retirement options, disability and life insurance. When it comes time to evaluate your options make sure to look at each plan. If you don’t understand the details of a benefit, contact your Human Resources department and ask the to explain it to you. Here are some tips for thinking about your particular family and your how you use your health insurance.
- How much health care do you expect to use?
- What is my deductible? What is my maximum out of pocket?
- Is my employer insurance affordable? Do I have another option?
If you have questions, if you need assistance with the application or if you need help with the whole thing, please call or email the Washtenaw Health Project and make an appointment. We can also answer questions over the phone. Call us at 734-544-3030. Email email@example.com. The sooner you call, the better! If you are not in Southeast Michigan, use this resource to find local help for HealthCare.gov / Marketplace assisters.
Medicare Open Enrollment – Oct. 15 to Dec. 7
Medicare is for seniors (65+) and people with disabilities who are receiving Social Security. Medicare has an open enrollment period from October 15-December 7th. If you need assistance with comparing Medicare supplement, advantage and Part D plans, please contact the Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) to speak with a trained volunteer who can assist you. Call 1-800-803-7174 or visit https://mmapinc.org/ to make an appointment.