Below you will find a detailed list of important tips & steps you should take when purchasing new or renewing U.S. based health insurance if you are a resident in the United States. If you are not a resident of the U.S., please see our International Health Insurance options.


  1. For new coverage for the 2018 open enrollment, you need to have a plan picked out, applied for, and paid for by December 15th for a January 1st effective date.  If you miss that date, you have to wait until next years open enrollment, unless you have a qualifying event..  

    • A qualifying event to get coverage after December 15th, are events like: Loss of insurance from an employer, a parent’s plan, turning 26, divorce, marriage, birth/adoption, moved states, etc....

  2. Each state has its own department of insurance.  For insurance companies to offer insurance in your state, that insurance company has to comply by your state's insurance laws, file approved plans and rates, and comply with the Affordable Care Act [ACA] federal health insurance laws that were put in place during the Obama Administration.  So please keep in mind when researching health insurance simply because your friend has a certain plan at a certain price in their state, that same health insurance plan and option are most likely not going to be available in your state.

  3. There are two types of health insurance: short term health insurance and traditional health insurance.

    • Short term health insurance is not the government approved health insurance that is currently available during open enrollment.  Short term insurance does not meet the guidelines set by the Affordable Care Act and while it does serve a purpose, it does not cover pre-existing conditions, and at this time you can not purchase it for the entire year.

    • Traditional health insurance, on the other hand, does cover pre-existing conditions, you can keep it all year, and it complies with the federal laws making it approved health insurance coverage to avoid the tax penalty of not having insurance.

  4. There are two ways you can quote and apply for the traditional health insurance plans mentioned above.  Either through the federal platform or directly with the insurance company.

    • ON EXCHANGE: If you decide to choose the federal platform you will have two applications.  First, you can log onto or call them, to complete a Marketplace qualification application.  This application is simply the federal application that will verify your identity, and citizenship; and determines if you qualify for a health care premium subsidy, which we nicknamed “Obama Bucks.”

      • Once your qualification application is complete, you can then choose from a list of health insurance options on their quoting platform, which varies from state to state.  Once you find what you like, you apply for that plan and the will send a separate application to the insurance company for your enrollment.

      • From there the insurance company will process your application, reconcile any subsidy that you may be eligible for by the government, and once your payment clears they will issue your policy.  

    • OFF EXCHANGE: If you do not want to purchase through the federal government platform, and do not want to see if you qualify for a premium subsidy [Obama Bucks] then you can purchase directly from the insurance company if there are plans available.  All that is required is you quote and compare their plans, pick one out and submit your application and payment into them by December 15th.

  5. VERY IMPORTANT TIP: Even with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies can still put exclusions in their plans for riding, racing, professional sports, hazardous activities, it is important that you follow the steps below.



  1. Choose how you want to enroll from the tips mentioned above in section 4.

  2. Quote and compare the insurance options in your state and pick a plan that meets your needs and budget.

  3. Once you have a plan picked out, download that plan’s summary of benefits.

  4. If you participate in racing, riding, extreme sports or any hobby or professional occupation, you need to check that the plan you intend to purchase will cover you in the event of an accident.  To do that you need to call that insurance company and ask the customer service rep a set of specific questions about the exact plan name and plan code from the summary of benefits of the plan you want.

  5. If you do not have any of those concerns, the next step is to then go ahead and submit an application with your first month’s payment.  Typically you will get a confirmation number as well as a confirmation email from the insurance company.

    • Keep in mind that while most companies have online applications, some are still using paper applications.    

  6. If you did not get a confirmation number or email, I would recommend calling the insurance company to verify that they received your application.

  7. Wait for your payment to clear and your insurance cards to arrive by mail.

  8. We also recommend that after your first payment clears, you see the premium payment processing around the first 5 days of each month.  If for some reason your payment does not process and your plan goes 30 days without payment, your plan will cancel and you will be left without traditional coverage.


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