For Immediate Release: October 30, 2015

Compare Health Insurance Plans During the Open Enrollment Period

The first day to purchase individual health insurance is Nov. 1

RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin reminds North Carolinians who purchase individual health insurance coverage to take advantage of the open enrollment period to compare plans and choose coverage.

The open enrollment period for 2016 coverage begins on Nov. 1, 2015, and ends Jan. 31, 2016. In order to have coverage effective Jan. 1, 2016, you must enroll by Dec.15.

"I encourage people to take action during the open enrollment period," Goodwin said. "Look at your options and decide if it's in your best interest to keep the plan you had last year, switch to another plan or change insurance companies."

If you do not get health coverage through your employer or Medicare, you can buy coverage in the individual market on the federal exchange at www.healthcare.gov. The exchange also determines if you are eligible for any subsidies, cost-sharing reductions or coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program.

If you purchased individual health insurance last year, you will be auto-enrolled in the same or similar plan unless you select a different plan. However, you should still verify your information, confirm your subsidy eligibility and look at the available policies. There may be a new option that is less expensive or better suits your needs. When choosing a plan, it's also important to check to see which medical providers (physicians, hospitals, labs, pharmacies, etc.) you may visit to receive covered care.

You may also purchase individual coverage off the exchange through an agent or broker or directly from an insurance company, but you will not be eligible for subsidies.

If you have questions about health insurance, contact the North Carolina Department of Insurance at 855-408-1212 or learn more at www.ncdoi.com.

For questions related directly to enrollment through the federal exchange, contact 800-318-2596 or visit https://www.healthcare.gov/contact-us/.

--NCDOI--