There are several different ways to sign up for Obamacare and all are subject to enrollment restrictions. Anyone can submit an application for health insurance during Open Enrollment, November 1st – January 31st. Outside of Open Enrollment an application for health insurance can only be submitted if you qualify for a special enrollment. There are two ways to submit an application for Obamacare, either directly through the health insurance companies, or through the government’s health insurance marketplace.
Since Obamacare is still insurance provided though the major medical carriers – United HealthCare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana etc. – the quickest and easiest way to sign up for Obamacare is to go directly to the insurance carriers. If you go directly to an insurance carrier’s website you need to make sure you are signing up for a Qualified Health Plan (QHP) to avoid being penalized for not having health insurance. This method is quick, easy and most carriers allow you to apply for a tax subsidy.
The health insurance marketplace only shows plans that can have a tax subsidy applied to the premium. You first create an account with the marketplace (either online or over the phone), then verify your identity with the government, fill out a “Tax Subsidy” application and finally choose a health insurance plan. You will see prices that have already been adjusted based on your tax credit. At the end of the process you are usually forwarded to the insurance carrier’s website to set up the first payment.
Signing up for Obamacare could take up to an hour, depending on how much information the government requests. Speak with a licensed agent about the options in your area and see if you qualify for reduced rates.