'Tis the Season...For Health Insurance!

From catering office parties to catering to drunken SantaCons, these last two months of the year are not for the faint of heart. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, you can add shopping for health insurance to your holiday to-do list. Whether you’re an hourly employee looking for the best plan for your family or a restaurant hoping for options to recommend to your staff, now’s the time to enroll in health coverage for 2017. Sign up by December 15 for coverage beginning January 1 (you can continue to sign up, with coverage starting later, until January 31).

If you’re not sure where to start, you’re not alone. The process of getting your own health insurance can seem daunting, but if you know the ropes it can be exactly the opposite—and Oscar can even help you save money and get free stuff. (Now that’s the holiday spirit.) Here’s how it works.

Do you really need health insurance?

You’ve probably heard the argument that accidents and sickness can happen to anybody and can rack up huge medical bills if you don’t have insurance. But even when you stay healthy all year round, insurance offers some great perks, like a free annual physical, a well-woman exam, preventive screenings, certain vaccines, a flu shot, and more.

What happens if you decide not to get health insurance?

This is the not-fun part: If you’re without insurance for more than three months, you have to pay a fine when you file your taxes. Here's what you need to know about that.

Where should you start looking for coverage?

You can purchase a plan through the individual marketplace by visiting HealthCare.gov. (If you qualify for financial aid, this is how you’ll calculate and claim it.) You can also get plans directly from insurance companies. Here's everything you need to know about signing up.

If you sign up for an Oscar plan (you can purchase one through the marketplace or directly on our website), you can talk to a doctor on the phone for free anytime 24/7 (no more waiting at the doctor’s office for prescriptions!). You’ll also get a dedicated concierge team to help you choose your doctors and get the best care (check out the doctors and hospitals in our network here). Oscar also pays you $1 a day if you meet your step goal in the Oscar app (finally, a reward for being on your feet all day!).

Which plan should I choose?

Plans are named after metal tiers to make it easy to compare options between different companies. If you’re healthy, Bronze or Silver plans are good options. They’re less expensive but have higher deductibles, so you pay less every month and more if you need care. If you go to the doctor often, have a chronic condition, or have an upcoming procedure, you may want a Gold or Platinum plan. They are more expensive, but cover more of the cost when you get care. In addition, if you’re healthy and under 30, you might opt for a Catastrophic or Secure plan, which is similar to a Bronze plan but with a lower monthly premium. Finally, if you qualify for a cost-sharing reduction, you may want to get a Silver plan; these plans have lower deductibles. Here’s more about how to pick the perfect plan.

Ready to jump in? We’re here to help. Click now to get a quote. Or call Oscar's health plan experts at 855-672-2788.