Whether you're currently without health insurance coverage or have a policy but are thinking of switching plans, there are a number of important factors to consider. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a great deal of health insurance activity is taking place on public marketplaces or exchanges. These marketplaces are often available online. If you want to make sure that you're getting the best possible policy, it's always important to know as much about the process as possible.
Deadlines for applying for health insurance will vary depending on exactly what type of policy you're interested in. In the state of Maryland, for example, the open enrollment period to apply for health insurance using the state marketplace begins November 15 and runs until February 15. During that time you can create an account on the website, input your employment and financial information to see what type of financial assistance or subsidy program you may qualify for and more.
If you miss the open enrollment period for your state marketplace, there are still a few important steps that you can take. Many marketplaces have Special Enrollment Periods that extend deadlines a significant period of time to give people the best possible chance at getting the health coverage that they so desperately need. Qualifying for a special enrollment period will require you to have gone through a life changing event like being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, experiencing a change in your family size (such as the birth of a child), getting married, a change in residency, and more.