In some limited cases insurance companies sell private health plans outside Open Enrollment that count as qualifying health coverage.
- These plans meet all the requirements of the health care law, including covering pre-existing conditions, providing free preventive care, and not capping annual benefits. If you have one of these plans, you won’t have to pay the fee that people without coverage must pay through the 2018 plan year. (Note: Starting with the 2019 plan year (for which you’ll file taxes in April 2020), the fee no longer applies.)
- The Marketplace doesn’t list or offer these plans. The only way you can enroll in a health plan through the Marketplace outside Open Enrollment is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
- You can find these plans through some insurance companies, agents, brokers, and online health insurance sellers. If you buy a plan outside the Marketplace any time, during Open Enrollment or not, you can’t get premium tax credits or other savings based on your income.
- Insurance companies can tell you if a particular plan counts as minimum essential coverage. Each plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage also includes this information.
Note: Most health plans sold outside Open Enrollment don’t count as qualifying health coverage.