Blog Post

Jim Wadleigh: What you need to know about this year’s open enrollment

Today is Nov. 1, which means it’s the first day of open enrollment for individual-market health plans. We’re celebrating with a guest post from Jim Wadleigh, CEO of Access Health CT – the state’s health insurance exchange.

At Access Health CT, our mission is to increase the number of insured Connecticut residents. Our team is focused on providing customers with as many tools, options, and pieces of information as possible, so they can make the best decision for themselves and their families – and have the peace of mind that comes from being covered.

Here are some things to know about this open enrollment. We also created a suite of shareable messaging and graphics to help you spread the word!

The law hasn’t changed: You still need insurance.

There’s been a lot said about the Affordable Care Act in the past few months, but this is one important fact: It’s still the law.

Because of that, you still need to have health insurance – and there is still financial help available to help people buy coverage. This year, nearly 80 percent of our customers get financial help to lower their premiums.

You might have also heard about the president’s recent decision to stop paying “cost-sharing reductions,” which help some of our customers get plans with lower deductibles. While some states didn’t plan for this, we did. Customers who qualify for cost-sharing reductions will still be able to get them.

The deadline is Dec. 22.

This year’s open enrollment period runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 22 – meaning that starting today, you have seven weeks to sign up if you want coverage for 2018. (Many states have a shorter period, but we extended it by a week.)

The window to sign up is shorter than in past years, and for the first time, it ends in December – so once the new year starts, you won’t be able to sign up.

It pays to shop around.

This message applies to our current customers and anyone else who needs insurance: Check out your options.

Visit to learn what you qualify for and what it will cost. We also have a Plan Comparison Tool that lets you figure out what all your health care costs would be with different plans (click here to try it).

If you haven’t shopped through Access Health CT before, you might be surprised by how much financial assistance you can get to help with your costs. (If you go without insurance, you will most likely have to pay a tax penalty of $695 or more for being uninsured. And you will be on the hook for any medical expenses you have if you get sick or have an accident.)

If you’re a current Access Health CT customer, I encourage you to check out your options too. Things change from year to year, and you might find that you can buy a plan that meets your needs better than what you have now – whether it’s a lower premium or deductible, or different health care providers in the network.

We have lots of ways for you to get help.

We have in-person assistance around the state, including 10 enrollment locations that have regular hours and enrollment fairs on each Saturday of open enrollment.  For more information click here.

There are also hundreds of certified application counselors and insurance brokers available to help you enroll or re-enroll. You can find one by clicking here.

You can also sign up online at, or by phone at 1-855-481-2428. We have assistance available in English, Spanish, and more than 100 different languages.