If you don't buy health insurance through work, this is an important time of year for you. "Health insurance marketplaces" are poised for open enrollment for individual and family health plans starting Nov. 15 and running through Feb. 15, 2015. This open enrollment period is the only time you can sign up for health insurance unless you have a "qualifying life event" such as marriage or divorce, birth of a child or loss of coverage because you or your spouse lost your job. This open enrollment applies only to individual and family plans that people purchase on their own. If you buy health insurance through your employer, your employer will announce its open enrollment dates. If you bought an Obamacare plan for 2014, it will end with the calendar year. To continue coverage next year, you can renew your current plan or choose a new one during 2015 open enrollment. Check to see if your plan automatically renews -- some do, some may not. If you want to switch plans or buy new coverage, open enrollment is the time to do it, says Carol Taylor, a benefits advisor for D&S Agency in Roanoke, Virginia, a United Benefits Advisors partner firm. Here are 10 essential facts to know for open enrollment for individual and family plans. Below are important considerations when deciding where to buy a plan.
Penalties increasing for not having health insurance
If you don't have health insurance in 2015, you may have to pay a fee come tax time. The fee for not having health insurance will be higher for 2015 than it is this year. In 2015, it will be whichever is more: 2 percent of your income or $325 per adult and $162.50 per child. (In 2014, the numbers were 1 percent of income or $95 per adult and $47.50 per child, or whichever was greater.)