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Deciding whether to keep or change your plan

If you’re enrolled in a 2015 Marketplace health insurance plan, you can renew or change plans for 2016.

  • We strongly recommend you update your expected income and household information for 2016 – even if you plan to keep your current insurance. It’s the only way to be sure your premium tax credit and other savings for 2016 are accurate. You also may find new plans and prices that work better for you. This year, more than 8 in 10 returning Marketplace consumers who return to shop could save an average of $50 per month and $610 annually in premiums, before tax credits, for the same level of coverage.
  • If you don’t act by December 15, you’ll probably be automatically re-enrolled for January 1 – but your premium tax credit will be based on last year’s information or on information the Marketplace has from other sources. You might be automatically enrolled with no tax credit. What to know about automatic re-enrollment.
  • In some cases, you won’t be automatically re-enrolled. You’ll need to take action by December 15 to stay covered January 1, 2016. What to know if you’re not automatically re-enrolled.

Why it’s critical to update & compare for 2016

  • Plans and prices change every year. You may find a new health care plan that’s more affordable or works better for you, especially if your expected 2016 income or household will change.
  • If you don’t update your information, your premium tax credit and other savings probably won’t be based on your best estimate of your expected income for 2016.
    • You could wind up paying a higher premium each month than you need to.
    • You could wind up taking more advance payments of the premium tax credit than you qualify for. If that happens, you’ll have to pay back some or all of it when you file your federal taxes.
  • Remember: Premium tax credits and other savings are based on the income and household information you expect for 2016, not last year’s information.

More information

More answers: Keep or change plans for 2016

Why is my premium tax credit different from what I had in 2015?

Your premium tax credit is based on the most current income and household size information available. That may be the information on your 2015 application, or more recent information from other sources.

It's very important to update your application with the income and household changes you expect for 2016. It's the only way to be sure you’ll get the right tax credit for the year.

Why does my Marketplace letter say I won't get a premium tax credit this year?
  • You may need to send us information or take other actions before you qualify for a 2016 premium tax credit. Your notice will tell you what you need to do by when.
  • Updated income information from the IRS may show that you don't appear to qualify for a premium tax credit in 2016.
  • We may not have a record that you filed a federal income tax return to report and reconcile a premium tax credit you used in 2014. If you don't file a tax return for years you use a premium tax credit, we can't continue to offer you one.
  • When you filled out your 2015 Marketplace application, you didn't allow the Marketplace to use your updated tax information automatically for future years.

Important: You may still qualify for savings for 2016, even if you're re-enrolled without a premium tax credit. That's why it's critical to update your Marketplace application with your expected income and household information for 2016.

Why will I be automatically enrolled in a similar health plan?

Insurance companies sometimes decide to change which health plans they offer in the Marketplace. This is a normal part of their business operations. Your health insurance company may have decided not to offer your particular plan through the Marketplace in 2016.

If so, we'll enroll you in a 2016 plan with pricing and coverage similar to your 2015 plan.
Note: An insurance company can't move you to a different plan based on your health or how much care you use. It can move you only if it's no longer offering the plan you had to anyone in your area.
You can accept the automatic enrollment in the similar plan or compare your options and change plans.
What if I don’t like the plan I'll be enrolled in automatically?

You can enroll in a different plan any time before January 31, 2016.

  • Enroll in the plan you want by December 15, 2015, so your new coverage starts by January 1, 2016.
  • Even if you're automatically enrolled in a plan you don't want on January 1, 2016, you can still change plans until January 31, 2016.
  • After January 31, you can't change plans for the rest of 2016 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
When does my 2015 Marketplace plan end?

All 2015 Marketplace plans end December 31, 2015. This is true no matter when you enrolled.

What are the deadlines for changing 2016 coverage?
  • December 15, 2015: The last day to update your information and renew or change health insurance plans for changes to take effect January 1, 2016. If you don’t act by December 15, you’ll probably be automatically re-enrolled for 2016.
  • December 31, 2015: All 2015 Marketplace coverage ends, no matter when it started
  • January 1, 2016: The first day 2016 coverage can begin
  • January 15, 2016: The last day to enroll in or change to a health insurance plan that starts February 1, 2016
  • January 31, 2016: The last day to enroll in or change 2016 insurance plans. Coverage starts March 1.

If you miss this deadline, you can’t enroll in a health insurance plan for the rest of 2016 unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Can I change to a health insurance plan outside the Marketplace?

Yes. But the only way to get a premium tax credit and other savings is to buy your plan through the Marketplace.

If your income is too high to qualify for a premium tax credit, you may want to explore plans outside the Marketplace.
Learn more about buying a plan outside the Marketplace.
Can I just let my 2015 coverage end without replacing it?

Yes. But before you make this choice, consider the important benefits of health coverage -- and the significant financial and health risks of not having it.

In addition, the fee you pay if you’re uninsured nearly doubles in 2016.
If you don't want any Marketplace coverage in 2016, you’ll have to cancel it before December 15 so you’re not automatically re-enrolled. See how to cancel your health plan.
Learn more about the risks of being uninsured.