How to Sign Up

Healthcare.gov is a whole new way for you to get an individual health plan. In the past you had to call up each individual insurance company or go through an insurance broker if you wanted to buy your own health insurance, but now Healthcare.gov provides a one-stop shop where you can compare plans and figure out which one is right for you. Also, remember that it is the only place where you can get government help to pay for your individual plan.

Getting started with Healthcare.gov

First, use Healthcare.gov as a tool to start comparing your options so that you can make an informed decision when you are ready.

As you use Healthcare.gov, there may be times when you will be confused or even think there is a mistake. There are people who can help answer your questions. Get help by calling Healthcare.gov at 1-800-318-2596 or 1-855-889-4325 (TTY) or get local in-person help. You can also use the Live Chat feature if you want to copy-and-paste a record of what was said. It is important to make sure that you get the best and most affordable plan for your situation.

Open enrollment

Open enrollment for individual plans has ended for this year. People in certain situations can still sign up for a health plan under special enrollment rules.

Usually, you can only sign up for an insurance plan through Healthcare.gov during a certain time called open enrollment. To sign up for an individual plan that will cover you during 2020, you must sign up between November 1, 2019 and December 15, 2019.

If you do not sign up during that time, you will usually not be allowed to sign up for an individual plan through Healthcare.gov until another year has passed. That means you might not be able to get coverage for an entire year.

Special Enrollment

There are certain situations when you can sign up for an individual plan through Healthcare.gov even though it is not the usual open enrollment period:

  • If you lose other health coverage you had
  • If your health provider is not meeting its obligations
  • If your income changes and you gain or lose eligibility for government help paying for your coverage
  • If you become a legal resident of the United States
  • If you move
  • If there was a mistake in your enrollment
  • In other life-changing circumstances, such as having a child or getting married

Note: American Indians do not have these restrictions on enrollment.

Visit Healthcare.gov

The best way for you to get an idea of what you could get through Healthcare.gov is for you to browse its website or call the Healthcare.gov call center at 1-800-318-2596 or 1-855-889-4325 (TTY).

You don’t have to sign up for a plan immediately, unless the open enrollment period is about to end. What you should do is research the options listed and get good advice about other alternatives.

When you should not use Healthcare.gov

Before you start looking into an individual plan, make sure you talk with your employer to see if your family is covered by an employer-sponsored plan. If you are, you will not be eligible to get government help paying for an individual plan.