In some limited cases insurance companies sell private health plans outside Open Enrollment that count as minimum essential coverage.
These plans meet all the requirements of the health care law, including covering pre-existing conditions, providing free preventive care, and not capping annual benefits. If you have one of these plans, you won’t have to pay the fee that people without coverage must pay.
The Marketplace doesn’t list or offer these plans outside Open Enrollment. The only way you can enroll in a health plan through the Marketplace outside Open Enrollment is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
You can find these plans through some insurance companies, agents, brokers, and online health insurance sellers. If you buy a plan outside the Marketplace any time, during Open Enrollment or not, you can’t get premium tax credits or other savings based on your income.
Insurance companies can tell you if a particular plan counts as minimum essential coverage. Each plan’s summary of benefits and coverage also includes this information.
Guide to Buying Health Insurance for 2015: How Health Insurance Works
Our guide to buying health insurance for 2015 walks you through how health insurance works and how to buy health insurance plans under Obamacare. Let’s take a look at how ObamaCare affects buying health care plans, different ways to Buy Health Insurance under the Affordable Care Act, how to understand terms like premiums, coinsurance, copays, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums, HMOs, PPOs, and HSAs, and how to choose the plan that has the right benefits, networks, costs, and coverage for you and your family.