Health Insurance Open Enrollment:
You Have Options


Uncertain economic times, rising medical costs and continued debates regarding healthcare reform make now a great time to re-educate yourself about health insurance.


What's New for 2019


There will not be a penalty for not having minimum essential coverage. Before, consumers would pay a penalty if they were not enrolled in a health plan. Starting Jan. 1, 2019, that tax penalty will be reduced to nothing. If you don't have major medical health insurance for the 2019 coverage year, you'll be on your own for major health care costs, but you won't be penalized at tax time.


Short-term, limited duration options may offer lower premiums, but they won't cover as much. Short-term, limited duration insurance is not available through the Marketplaces, but you may see it offered elsewhere. It allows for coverage to fill temporary coverage gaps. While they're typically cheaper than the Marketplace and other individual market health plans, there are usually limited benefits, broader exclusions and higher levels of consumer cost-sharing. Before signing up for a short-term plan, it's important to think through what health care services you and your family may need and check whether those services are covered.


There will be more direct enrollment options. This means you might sign up for a Marketplace plan even without visiting You might use an insurer's website or a third-party website. These sites might offer you other types of coverage too, so look closely to know what you're buying. Remember, you can always use or your state's Marketplace if you want to be sure to get the protections of the Marketplace plans.