Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage in the Marketplace will run in most states from November 1 to December 15 for those under 65. The Marketplace is operated by the federal government through HealthCare.gov for most states, though some states have their own Marketplaces. Open enrollment is a period of time in which individuals and families can add, drop, or make changes to their ACA health coverage.
Booksellers are encouraged to start preparing for the health insurance open enrollment period this fall by contacting ABA’s membership health insurance partner LIG Solutions for a no-obligation health insurance assessment.
What are my options outside of open enrollment?
In general, open enrollment is typically the only time during the year people can enroll in a health insurance plan or switch to a different plan.
Once open enrollment for ACA coverage in the Marketplace is over for the year, people can get health insurance through:
- Special enrollment periods. This period results from a qualifying life event such as marriage, a birth, loss of health insurance, moving, job change/loss, etc. and allows people to change/add coverage outside of open enrollment. Find if you qualify here. (Some states have also opened special enrollment periods due to COVID-19.)
- Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You can apply for these at any time. Find if you qualify here
- Short-term health plans. These plans were created to bridge gaps in coverage while awaiting the next open enrollment period. Short-term plans do not have to adhere to the ACA’s requirements for minimum coverage, do not generally cover pre-existing conditions, and provide limited benefits. Therefore, these plans are generally not a long-term solution for most people (though they can be in the right situation). Contact LIG Solutions for more information.
- Group Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). This option is when an employer offers a high-deductible health plan and reimburses employees for a predetermined amount of out-of-pocket health care expenses (often for deductibles and coinsurances covered under the plan). Bookstores can start a Group HRA plan outside of open enrollment, thus creating their own open enrollment period to allow employees to get ACA coverage. Contact LIG Solutions about its Group HRA program.
Booksellers should communicate with their manager before purchasing a policy as the bookstore may be looking into offering employees a health coverage option as part of the ABA partnership with LIG Solutions.
When does my state’s open enrollment begin?
There are two open enrollment periods: one for Medicare and one for people under 65.
Medicare open enrollment for all 50 states runs from October 15 to December 7. There is a period in January/February/March each year where people with a current Medicare plan can change plans, but not get new plans.
Most states’ open enrollment periods for ACA coverage for people under 65 run from November 1 to December 15. It’s important to note that some states may offer year-to-year extensions to open enrollment, but this is not guaranteed. Always check with your state’s website for updated 2021 dates or contact LIG Solutions.
Additionally, some states have permanently extended open enrollment periods:
- California: November 1 to January 31
- Colorado: November 1 to January 15
- District of Columbia: November 1 to January 31
How do I access ABA’s membership health insurance benefit?
ABA’s partnership with LIG Solutions allows ABA members to gain access to LIG’s extensive knowledge of the health insurance market, which helps members navigate a wide array of insurance options, including ACA-compliant major medical, Medicare/supplements, short-term policies, vision, dental, critical care, and supplemental coverage, as well as small group/Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRAs) programs.
Find ABA’s LIG landing page, which has a dedicated phone number for members and a recorded webinar explaining the program under “For Booksellers” and “LIG Health Insurance” on Bookweb.org. (An ABA login is required to access the landing page.)
You can call or fill out the form on the landing page at any time to speak with an LIG representative about your specific health insurance options. These options are customized and flexible to your needs. Although options are limited outside of open enrollment, LIG Solutions can walk you through options to “bridge” coverage through the rest of the year.
For more information about the membership health insurance benefit, see FAQs about the LIG partnership. For questions not answered by this FAQ, please contact ABA’s Director of Advocacy & Public Policy David Grogan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, booksellers should communicate with their manager before purchasing a policy as the bookstore may be looking into offering employees a health coverage option as part of the ABA partnership with LIG Solutions.