Open enrollment for 2018 federal health insurance begins Nov. 1


North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey reminds residents that Open Enrollment for the 2018 Federal Health Insurance Exchange begins Wednesday, Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15 with coverage to start January 1, 2018.

“This is a shorter enrollment period than previous years,” said Commissioner Causey. “If you do not have health insurance elsewhere, you need to take part in Open Enrollment to make sure you choose the best insurance plan to meet your needs as well as determine if you qualify for tax subsidies to offset premium costs.”

Enrolling in an Affordable Care Act or ACA health insurance plan online at is the only way to take advantage of tax subsidies to help pay for premiums. It is estimated nearly 85% of ACA insured members with the state’s largest insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, will be eligible for Advanced Premium Tax Credit Subsidies.

Outside the Open Enrollment period, the only way to buy health insurance from under the ACA is to qualify for special enrollment due to having a child or adopting children, losing health coverage or moving.

Under the Affordable Care Act, residents are required to maintain ACA compliant insurance or be subject to penalty. Residents are guaranteed to be insurable and are encouraged to sign up for health insurance if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • They have current qualifying ACA coverage but may want to change their plan for 2018.
  • They don’t have health insurance through their employer or their spouse’s employer.
  • They don’t have government coverage (such as veterans, Medicare and Medicaid).
  • They are older than age 26 and can no longer be on a parent’s health insurance.

To enroll in or change 2018 ACA health insurance policies, consumers may visit

Consumer specialists at the N.C. Department of Insurance are available to answer any questions during ACA Open Enrollment by calling 1-855-408-1212.

“The N.C. Department of Insurance is in full support of giving consumers broad access to quality, affordable healthcare,” said Commissioner Causey. “We are doing our best to maintain a stable health insurance market that provides new products and more choices.”

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Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.