Talk with your employer to see if health insurance coverage is a benefit that's offered to you. If it is, there are usually rules about when you are able to sign up:
- When you're hired: Typically, you have a short period of time after you are first hired to enroll.
- During open enrollment: If you don't enroll when you are first eligible, you will probably need to wait for the annual open enrollment period. When open enrollment happens each year depends on the plan year -- it's not necessarily the same as the calendar year.
- When you have certain life events: If you have a qualifying life event, such as getting married or having a baby, you have a limited time -- 30 days, in most cases -- to sign up for health coverage (or add family members to your coverage) during the plan year. Learn more. If you miss the deadline, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment and your coverage would begin the next plan year.
Ask your employer when your next chance to enroll will be and when your coverage would begin.
Ability to make mid-year changes is limited
Keep in mind that you usually can't make changes to your coverage (adding, dropping, or switching) during the plan year. Unless you have a qualifying life event, once you enroll you will stick with those choices until the next open enrollment; any changes you make during open enrollment would be effective the beginning of the next plan year.
What if I don't like the plan my employer offers?
Coverage through an employer is often a good deal. In many cases, the employer pays a large portion of the monthly premiums. The part of the premium that you pay is usually deducted from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis.
If you prefer, you can get health insurance on your own. Learn more. Most employer plans allow you to opt out if you don't want the coverage. However, if you are eligible for employer-sponsored coverage but decide to buy coverage through the state's health insurance Marketplace, it's important to know:
- You likely would not be eligible for a subsidy (premium tax credit), and
- You would miss out on the money your employer pays to subsidize premiums under their plan.
Employer cover seems unafforable
If you are concerned that your employer-sponsored coverage is unaffordable or fails to meet minimum value standards, find more information here: