Health Care

Get Covered: The Health Insurance Marketplace

Today, more than seven million Americans have signed up for private insurance through the Marketplaces. The Affordable Care Act is working and now millions of Americans with quality, affordable health insurance have peace of mind, economic security that comes with these new health benefits, and protections against insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

The 2014 Open Enrollment period has now ended, as of March 31, 2014.

As we look to the remaining months of 2014, here are important dates and information you need to know:

Things to know about 2014 Open Enrollment

  • Open Enrollment to purchase 2014 coverage ended on March 31, 2014.
  • If you have not enrolled in coverage by March 31, 2014, you generally cannot enroll in the 2014 Marketplace.
  • If you tried to enroll in coverage by March 31, 2014, but were not able to finish the application process, you will have a chance to complete your enrollment.
  • If you experience a qualifying life event or have a complex situation, you may qualify for a special enrollment period to apply for coverage after March 31, 2014.
  • If you don’t have health coverage in 2014, you may have to pay a penalty. You don’t have to pay the penalty if you enroll in a plan by March 31, 2014.

Exceptions for 2014 Open Enrollment

If you experience a qualifying life event or a complex case, you may qualify for a special enrollment period to purchase coverage after March 31, 2014.

What is a qualifying life event?
A change in your life that can make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in health coverage.

Examples of qualifying life events are moving to a new state, certain changes in your income, losing minimum essential coverage, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, or have a baby).

What is a complex case?
If you have a complicated situation that kept you from enrolling you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in health coverage. Examples of complex cases include you faced a serious medical condition or natural disaster, your application was stopped due to specific error messages, and other situations.

What is a special enrollment period?
A time outside of the Open Enrollment period during which you and your family have a right to sign up for health coverage. In the Marketplace, you generally qualify for a special enrollment period of 60 days following certain life events that involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage.

If you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, you can’t buy insurance through the Marketplace until the next Open Enrollment period for 2015. Job-based plans generally allow special enrollment periods of 30 days.


What to know about 2015 Open Enrollment

  • The 2015 Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.
  • If you haven’t enrolled in coverage by February 15, 2015, you generally can’t buy Marketplace health coverage for 2015 until the next Open Enrollment period for coverage the following year.
  • If you don’t have health coverage during 2015, you may have to pay a penalty.

Medicaid & CHIP enrollment

Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are combined state-federal programs for people with limited incomes.

You can apply for Medicaid or CHIP coverage at any time. If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, your coverage can begin immediately.

Enrollment for small businesses

Employers generally can start offering health insurance coverage to their employees at any time during the year - whether you buy coverage through the SHOP Marketplace, an agent or broker, or directly from an insurance company.

Learn more about SHOP coverage for businesses with 50 or fewer employees.


Have questions? Get answers.

Get quick answers about Obamacare and the Health Insurance Marketplace


Talk to someone 24/7 by calling 1-800-318-2596. You can also find local help to get your questions answered and the support you need.


Better options, better value, better health, and a stronger Medicare program

Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, health care reforms have already made an empowering impact on the lives of many Wisconsinites - providing better options, better value, better health and a stronger Medicare program for the people of this state.

Find out more about what the Affordable Care Act means for you:



How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of Wisconsin

“Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, health care reforms have already made an empowering impact on the lives of many Wisconsinites who are today getting better value for their dollars. As a result of moving America’s new health care law forward, Wisconsinites now have health security through their new benefits, protections against discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, and a stronger Medicare program that includes free preventive care and lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs.

Our state has a proud tradition of advancing health care reforms and I am committed to making sure that America’s new health care law works for Wisconsin and working across party lines to make it better. Wisconsin has always taken the path of leadership in advancing health care reforms that serve as models for the rest of the country. It’s time to seize the opportunity to take that path once again. It’s time to move health care reform forward and put progress for Wisconsin ahead of politics.”

--- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin


Senator Baldwin with nurses at hospital

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