Nov 1, 2021
5 Things to Know About Shopping for Health Insurance!
Knowing where to start when looking for a health insurance plan can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of information out there and not all of it is easy to follow. Open Enrollment gets a lot of attention because it’s a window of time every year where Massachusetts residents can shop for health insurance plans. But did you know that you can also search for health plans at any time of year if you experience a “qualifying life event”? Whether you haven’t shopped for a health plan in a while or this is your first time, here are some things to know about shopping for health insurance.

How to apply?

You can apply for health insurance coverage as a Massachusetts resident online:

  1. Go to and answer some questions to see if you qualify for a low or no-cost health plan, and what your monthly payments may be.

  2. Sign up and shop for a health plan at during Open Enrollment which happens once a year from November 1 to January 23, or year-round if you’ve had a qualifying life event. 

Have you had a “qualifying life event”? With COVID-19 impacting so many aspects of life, more Massachusetts residents than ever before qualify for reduced-cost healthcare.

Why is it important to have health insurance?

In the state of Massachusetts, it’s required for all residents to have health insurance due to an individual mandate. This means that if you’re not covered by a health plan for the majority of the year may be fined on your taxes. If you have health insurance you’ll avoid this tax penalty.

When can you apply?

The Massachusetts Health Connector runs its Open Enrollment period from November 1 to January 23. Open Enrollment runs for this same period once every year. But there are still opportunities for you to get health care if you need it before and after this time period. Don’t let the time of year prevent you from finding a health insurance plan!

Have you had a “qualifying life event”?

With COVID-19 impacting so many aspects of life, more Massachusetts residents than ever before qualify for reduced-cost healthcare. You may even be eligible for a subsidized health insurance premium that can make your payments as low as $0 a month. Some qualifying life events include:

  • Losing a job or having your hours cut
  • Unable to get health insurance through work
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Changing residences
  • Turning 26 and losing coverage under a parent’s health plan
  • Having a baby or adopting a child into your family
  • Changes to your income

How do you pick a plan?

Once you provide the Health Connector with all of your information you’re going to be given a list of health plans that you qualify for. Most people find sorting by cost the easiest way to navigate how they shop for their health care. Here are some things to consider when choosing your health plan:

  • Compare plan costs with their benefits. If you qualify for a ConnectorCare plan, BMC HealthNet Plan is your lowest-cost* option.
  • Make sure your key doctors are covered. This can be especially important if you have a pre-existing condition like asthma, diabetes, or other chronic conditions that need routine care.
  • Extra perks for members. For example, BMC HealthNet Plan offers reimbursements for gym memberships, fitness watches, and discounts on prescription glasses.

While it's always important for people to be covered by health insurance, this is especially true during the ongoing pandemic. Having access to health care can help save a person, family, or business from making tough decisions. When people have access to health care they can take steps to stop the spread of an illness in the event that they do get sick. Having health insurance can play a large role in how healthy our communities can be. That’s why all BMC HealthNet Plan plans include coverage for COVID-19 testing, vaccination and treatment.

You have options when it comes to your healthcare. For a complete list visit





*BMC HealthNet Plan offers the lowest cost ConnectorCare plans in 6 of the 7 Massachusetts regions we serve.

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