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Before enrollment

The basics of enrollment in health insurance

Choosing and signing up for health insurance may not be as fun as choosing where to vacation and buying those tickets. It can also be tough to know when and how to enroll.

But having health insurance is critical to protect you and your loved ones from huge bills you cannot afford. Here are some basics that can help.


Enrollment means the same thing as signing up. When you can enroll for a health insurance plan depends on your personal situation.

Company insurance plan

If you get your insurance through your employer, your company will determine when the enrollment time is scheduled.

Choose your own insurance

If you already have a plan and buy your own insurance, learn the dates for your specific open enrollment period. If you don't have a plan, the Open Enrollment Period is the time every year when you can shop for and choose a plan.

If you are currently enrolled in a marketplace health insurance plan, your plan will automatically renew. However, the plan may make changes to its provider network, copays, coinsurance or drug coverage. Your plan must send you a notice of any changes it will make for the next year.

You may have received a tax credit toward your premium last year. To be sure your financial assistance is accurate for the upcoming year, you must verify that your information is correct on the marketplace website.

Choose carefully during open enrollment, because you can’t make any changes until the next year’s OEP or if you have a qualifying life event.

What is a qualifying life event?

A qualifying life event is a change in your life that allows you to enroll or change your health insurance plan during a special enrollment period (SEP). The length of your SEP varies. Some examples of qualifying life events:

  • Losing health insurance (such as losing your job-based coverage, turning 26 and coming off your parent’s plan or losing COBRA coverage)
  • Changes in the size of your household (such as getting married, getting divorced, a death in the family, having a baby)
  • Changing your residence (such as moving to an area with a new ZIP code, moving to or from school, leaving incarceration, becoming a new U.S. citizen)

Review this checklist of what you may need to make changes to your policy with a qualifying life event:

  • Social Security number
  • Spouse’s Social Security number
  • Birthdates for you and your dependents
  • Tobacco status  
  • Medicare status
  • Other health insurance status

We’d like to join you on your journey to getting covered. Call or visit us. Ask questions. Choose your plan. We make it simple!

Call 800-392-2583 or make an appointment at one of our ArkansasBlue stores.