It’s Back – Individual Health Insurance Open Enrollment

481253335Open Enrollment started Saturday, Nov. 15. Most of the attention during open enrollment focuses on the opening of the Marketplace on The attention is deserved — last year’s website experience left a lot to be desired, and many are watching to see how the website performs this year.

But open enrollment is more than just a website. It is the one time of year when anyone under the age of 65 in the United States can go directly to a health plan or to the Marketplace and shop for individual health insurance. If you miss the open enrollment period, you have to wait until the next open enrollment period to enroll for health insurance, unless you have a life-changing event that would qualify you for a special enrollment period. Those life-changing events are things like getting married, having a baby, getting a divorce, moving, losing a job or job-related health insurance coverage.

A life changing-event is not getting pregnant or having an illness. Even though we all know these events change our lives, they won’t qualify you for a special enrollment period. So the message is: Get health insurance during open enrollment, which ends Feb. 15, 2015.

Also remember that open enrollment isn’t just on the website. While is the only place where you can gain access to tax credits to reduce the cost of your monthly premium if you are eligible, many individuals took advantage last year of going directly to a health insurance carrier rather than going through

Why go directly to a health insurance carrier like Avera Heath Plans for your individual health insurance coverage? If you know that you won’t be eligible for a tax credit — this table will tell you if it is worth checking out the tax credits — buying directly from Avera Health Plans online will save you time. The application process online runs very smoothly. You can compare our plans and use our tools to help you make the best decision in coverage for you and your family. The plans are the same and you get the same great access to our broad list of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and health professionals committed to providing you affordable, quality health care.

Remember, open enrollment ends Feb. 15, 2015.

By Deb Muller

Chief Administrative Officer at Avera Health Plans