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What if I need coverage that starts before January 2014?


You can buy individual insurance that starts before January 1, 2014. We can help you find your options. But some rights and benefits won't apply yet.

Having health insurance is important

Having health insurance is important to your health and financial security. If you don't have coverage now and need it before Marketplace coverage begins, you have several options. You can buy directly from an insurance company, with the assistance of a broker or agent, or using an online service.

You can also use our Plan Finder website to get information on available plans in your area and compare costs and benefits. You can then contact the insurance company directly to buy a plan.

Some rights and protections don't apply yet

No matter how you buy insurance before the Marketplace opens, be aware that some protections and benefits of the health care law are not yet in effect and may not apply to your coverage.

  • You may be denied coverage, charged more, or have certain kinds of care limited or excluded if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • Women may be charged more than men.
  • Plans do not have to offer essential health benefits, so it’s very important to find out what each plan covers and excludes.
  • You won’t be able to get lower costs based on your income, as you might be able to with a Marketplace plan.

Find out when your policy can end

Before you buy, you may want to find out when you can stop your policy--at any time, or only at the end of a plan or policy year. This could be useful to know if you'd like to switch to a Marketplace plan later.

The Plan Finder is not the Marketplace

Remember: The Plan Finder is not the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Plan Finder helps you find health insurance that is available outside the Marketplace now, before 2014 protections and features are available.

Health Insurance Marketplace open enrollment ends March 31, 2014. Coverage can begin as soon as January 1, 2014.