FAQs for Open Enrollment in Massachusetts

Open Enrollment is the time of the year where consumers can buy a new health insurance plan or change their current plan through the Health Connector or directly through the insurance carrier.

What is open enrollment?

Open enrollment is the time of the year where consumers can buy a new health insurance plan or change their current plan through the Health Connector or directly through the insurance carrier. If your employer doesn’t offer health insurance or you cannot afford the plan offered by your employer, you can apply for individual insurance through the Massachusetts Health Connector. If you qualify for subsidized health insurance (i.e. MassHealth, ConnectorCare or Health Safety Net) or have experienced a qualifying life event, you do not need to wait until open enrollment to apply for coverage.

Depending on your income and if you have a change in your household (including marriage, having children, and more), you may be able to apply for health insurance outside of Open Enrollment – you can always check in with our HelpLine for more information. However, we recommend enrolling in insurance during Open Enrollment if possible.

Note: This is different than employer-sponsored insurance. If you receive health insurance through your job, you should ask your employer for more information about your options and their open enrollment period.

When is open enrollment?

In Massachusetts open enrollment for plans on the Massachusetts Health Connector is annually from November 1st to January 23rd. This open enrollment timeframe only applies to Massachusetts. In 2021 and due to the pandemic, open enrollment in Massachusetts has been extended through July 23rd.

Where do I enroll for health insurance?

You can see what insurance plans are being offered, see how much financial assistance you are eligible for, and enroll in a health insurance plan on the Massachusetts Health Connector website: https://www.mahealthconnector.org/

Shop around to see what plans have your doctors and medications at the prices you are looking for!

If I am already enrolled in a health insurance plan, do I need to do anything?

Even if you already have health insurance, it’s still a good idea to confirm that your information is correct before 2021 and to compare your options to make sure that your health plan is still affordable to you. It’s possible that your premiums have changed from last year, so you should double-check now. You can choose to stay with your same plan if it’s still available or shop for other options.

It’s also important to update your information to the Massachusetts Health Connector whenever you have a change to report, including changes in income and changes in your household size or address. This information determines the level of financial assistance you will receive to help you pay for insurance, so make sure your information is up-to-date before choosing a plan.

Can I only apply for insurance during this period?

Outside of the open enrollment period, you need to experience “qualifying event” such as a change in your household size (getting married, divorced, having a child, etc.), a change in income, or a loss of your current insurance in order to get most private insurance. However, if you are eligible for certain health care plans such as MassHealth, Health Safety Net, or ConnectorCare, you can apply at any time of the year. You can check what plans you qualify for on the Massachusetts Health Connector.

If you’re unsure if you can get insurance outside of open enrollment, you can check with our HelpLine at (800) 272-4232

I’ve heard insurance prices are increasing - will I be able to afford insurance?

Partly due to actions on the federal level, health insurance costs are increasing throughout the country, including in Massachusetts.

If you see an increase in the price of your insurance, you may be able to find a lower-cost option on the Massachusetts Health Connector, or you can buy a health care plan directly through an insurance company.

However, if you qualify for lower-cost plans through the Massachusetts Health Connector, your costs probably won’t be increasing, and they may even go down – many people qualify for lower-cost plans, so be sure to explore your options!

How do I know if I’m eligible for lower cost plans?

You can visit the Massachusetts Health Connector to create an account, apply for insurance, and learn what low-cost options are available to you.

You are eligible for lower-cost plans based on your income level and household size. These income limits change annually, so you may be eligible for a lower cost plan this year even if you weren’t in the past. Check the options available for you on the Massachusetts Health Connector website or call our HelpLine at (800) 272-4232 if you are unsure about your eligibility for lower-cost plans.

What do I do if my premiums are increasing and I’m not eligible for lower cost plans?

You should explore the plans available through the Massachusetts Health Connector. Although some plans are increasing in price, other plans may still be affordable for you. By switching to a different plan, you may have lower costs. You can compare all your options on the Massachusetts Health Connector website.

If the plans available to you on the Massachusetts Health Connector still seem too expensive, you can also contact insurance companies directly to see if they are offering lower-cost plans that aren’t available on the Massachusetts Health Connector’s website.

Help is Available

The Health Care For All HelpLine is a free multi-lingual statewide resource to help consumers with health coverage.

Find an Assister

Health Care For All supports enrollment assisters working throughout the state.

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