Austin Women's Health Center Blog&Inspiration

Everything You Need To Know About Open Enrollment 

December 15, 2021
Open Enrollment

Navigating the health insurance landscape is no easy task. With a myriad of health plans and websites, it can be difficult to know exactly where to shop for health coverage. To make things easier, we compiled a list of all the things you need to know about the 2022 Marketplace health insurance, also known as open enrollment, right now.

Before we dive into the specifics, what is open enrollment? Open enrollment is a time each year when you can sign up for health insurance for the upcoming year. This year, open enrollment started on November 1, 2021, and ends on January 15, 2022. If you need health insurance to be effective by January 1, 2022, the last day to enroll is December 15, 2021. 

Getting Started 

To start, visit and select the state you live in. Some states, such as New York and California, have their own marketplace. Once you select the state, you will be directed to its health plan marketplace or general marketplace.

If you do not have an account, you will be required to create a username, password, and fill in the security questions. From there, you can enter the following information: 

  • Background information (name, citizenship status, address) 
  • Projected 2022 income 

Some individuals and families who qualify as low-income may be offered a tax credit to offset the costs. “This year, thanks to the American Rescue Plan, coverage is more affordable and accessible than ever. Americans purchasing coverage through the Affordable Care Act have seen their premiums decrease to historic lows –– a drop of $67 a month on average, saving families over $800 annually,” President Joe Biden said in a press release. “In fact, four in five customers can find quality coverage for less than $10 a month. If you don’t receive insurance through your employer, there are a range of quality, affordable coverage options available to you.” 

Terms To Know Before Picking A Plan

  • Allowed amount: the highest amount a plan will cover for service. 
  • Coinsurance: a certain percentage you must pay during each benefit period after you have finished paying your deductible. 
  • Copayment or copay: the amount you pay to a healthcare provider at the time you receive services. Not all healthcare plans have copays.
  • Deductible: The amount you pay for your healthcare services before your health insurer begins to pay. For example, if your health insurance plan has a $1,000 annual deductible, you would be expected to pay the first $1,000 toward your healthcare services. After you reach that amount, your health insurance will cover the rest.  
  • Dependent coverage: coverage for eligible dependents. 
  • In-network provider: a healthcare provider who is a part of your plan’s network. 
  • Out-of-network provider: a healthcare provider that is not a part of your plan’s network. If you visit an out-of-network provider, your insurance may not cover or partially cover services provided by an out-of-network provider, making these services more expensive than services provided by an in-network provider. 
  • Outpatient services: services that do not require an overnight stay in a hospital. 
  • Urgent care provider: a provider of services for health problems that need medical attention right away but are not considered emergencies. 

Previewing a Health Insurance Plan

You can also preview plans and compare prices by visiting After entering your zip code, you’ll be asked to enter your household information, such as your current plan, household income, and estimated savings. Please note that you cannot enroll in health insurance through the preview option. You have to create an account in order to officially enroll. 

Picking a Health Insurance Plan

Your health insurance selection will depend on your individual and or family’s health needs. To ensure you’re picking the right coverage, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is this insurance plan only for me or am I also enrolling dependents? 
  • Do I need a plan with medical, dental, vision, and prescription drugs, or just a few out of the three? 
  • Does the plan provide coverage for the services that I need/may need in the 2022 year? 
  • Can I afford the monthly cost? 
  • How much are the copays for specialist visits, emergency rooms, prescription drugs, etc? 

Answering these questions can help you narrow down the best plan for you and your family. After adding your plan of choice to the cart, you will be asked to confirm the plan and will be successfully enrolled in health insurance for 2022. Your health insurer will contact you in the coming weeks to process your monthly payment and to provide your insurance cards and information. 

You will be able to change your plan until January 15, 2022. After this date, you must have a qualifying life event, such as getting married, having a baby, or losing other health coverage, to change your health insurance.