For Immediate Release: October 25, 2016

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 2017 coverage begins on Nov. 1, 2016, and ends Jan. 31, 2017. In order to have coverage effective Jan. 1, 2017, you must enroll by Dec.15.

“I encourage people to take action early during the open enrollment period and give yourself time to find the best plan for you,” Goodwin said. “The plans are changing and you might need more time to make sure you’re selecting a plan that includes the coverage you need, your doctors and falls within your price range.”

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 The exchange also determines if you are eligible for financial assistance like subsidies, cost-sharing reductions or coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

If you purchased individual health insurance last year, you may be auto-enrolled in the same or similar plan but you may receive a notice informing of a new plan. It is important to know that you have the opportunity to shop for a plan that you choose.

Things to remember if you’re shopping for a new plan:

  1. Enrollment starts Nov. 1, 2016.
  2. Select and pay for your plan by Dec. 15, 2016, for coverage on Jan. 1, 2017.
  3. Check to see if your doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and labs participate on the plan you select.
  4. Visit to see if you are eligible for financial assistance.
  5. If you need one-to-one enrollment assistance, visit to set up an appointment, or see a licensed NC agent/broker.

For questions related directly to enrollment through the federal exchange, contact 800-318-2596 or visit

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