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Open enrollment season is under way and that means you can apply for health insurance anytime between now and January 31, 2016. While you can wait until January 31 to sign up, you will have to have your application complete by December 15, 2015.
The best way to begin your application process is by starting at Healthcare.gov. If you already have coverage and want to consider changing it then you should click on the tab that says "Log in to Keep/Change Plans." If you currently DO NOT have coverage then you will click on the tab that says "Take the First Step to Apply."
You will then be asked to select the state you reside in. You will then be asked to enter your zip code and will either be taken to the Federal exchange or your state exchange if your state runs its own exchange.
After that you will be asked a few questions about household income, size of household, your age and sex, and if you smoke tobacco. These answers will help determine if you are eligible for a subsidy to help offset the cost of your monthly premium or if you may even be eligible for Medicaid.
**If you qualify for Medicaid then there is NO DEADLINE for applications.**
After you enter all the required information you will be taken to a page showing the various plans you can choose from. There are three main categories--Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The Bronze plans have lower monthly premiums, but higher deductibles. The Silver plans have slightly higher monthly premiums, but lower deductibles. And the Gold plans have the highest monthly premiums, but the lowest deductibles.
What plan works for you depends on a host of issues, most notably your current health status and income. If you need to talk to someone in person that will help you navigate this maze then don't worry because there are people there to help you all along the way. There is a contact page on Healthcare.gov that give you various options to reach out to them. If you would rather call someone directly then there's a 24/7 Hotline that you can call at 1-800-318-2596.