Are you in need of health insurance? Well, you’re in luck! It’s that time of year again, open enrollment season. The open enrollment period started November 1st and it ends Dec. 15th. 2018 Open Enrollment is shorter than in previous years. It’s important to act quickly. If you don’t act by December 15, you can’t get 2018 coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Plans sold during Open Enrollment start January 1, 2018.

Coverage starts January 1st, 2018, provided that the first premium is paid before then. This might be your only time to enroll for the year, aside from special life circumstances. If you qualify for any of the following life events after open enrollment closes, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period. Life events that may qualify you for a special enrollment period include getting married, having or adopting a child, getting divorced or legally separated, or if someone on your marketplace plan dies leaving you ineligible for your current health plan. Moving homes may also qualify you for a special enrollment period. More life events that may qualify you for a special enrollment period can be found here.

Currently, if you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you may pay a fee called the individual shared responsibility payment. For the 2017 plan year, the fee is calculated 2 different ways – as a percentage of your household income, and per person. You’ll pay whichever is higher. You can use this IRS tool to estimate your individual responsibility payment if you choose not to purchase health insurance for 2018.

Navigating the Marketplace can be a daunting task if you do it by yourself, but there are many resources available to help. There’s still time to either find a patient navigator at a local community center or to go online yourself and check out the marketplace, which is located here. There are a variety of affordable plans to fit your health care needs, and there are agents to assist you if you need more guidance or information. You can even look at available plans before creating an account right here.