In Nebraska, cooler weather and leaves rustling against the wind indicate that winter and Open Enrollment are nearby. Don’t miss your chance to consider and enroll in new health coverage. Read on to learn more about what your options are.

What is Open Enrollment and when can I get coverage?

Open Enrollment starts on Nov. 1 and ends on Dec. 15 of every year. It is the window of time you can purchase or renew your health insurance for the following calendar year. Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans can only be purchased during Open Enrollment or if a qualifying life event occurs, which triggers a Special Enrollment Period. Non-ACA plans can be purchased throughout the year.

Read this article to learn more about qualifying life events that trigger a Special Enrollment Period.

Who can I purchase insurance for?

You can purchase health insurance for yourself or your family through your employer or individually.

What are my options for health insurance?

The options for health insurance through your employer are dependent on the company’s offerings. When purchasing coverage on your own, insurance plans commonly include:

  • Individual or Family Health Insurance (ACA or Non-ACA)
  • Temporary or Short-Term Limited Duration Products (Non-ACA)
  • Medical Discount Plans (Non-ACA)
  • Direct Primary Care (Non-ACA)
  • Ancillary or Supplemental Benefits for Specific Health Situations (Non-ACA)
  • Other Governmental Programs

BCBSNE currently offers individual and family ACA plans, short-term limited duration plans and plans offering ancillary or supplemental benefits.

What is the ACA?

The ACA, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a health care reform act signed into law in 2010. It is designed to help millions of Americans access health coverage and offers a premium tax credit for individuals and families who purchase health insurance through the Marketplace. These plans are available to everyone regardless of health history. Visit to see if you qualify for premium assistance and additional savings through a Cost Sharing Reduction.

What options does BCBSNE offer?

BCBSNE’s individual health plans are Nebraska HeartlandBlue and Armor Health. For a complete list of all the available products, visit

Nebraska HeartlandBlue is BCBSNE’s ACA health care plan; individuals can enroll during the Open Enrollment Period or throughout the year with a qualifying life event.

Armor Health is BCBSNE’s individual non-ACA health care plan; individuals can enroll in Armor Health year-round.

Visit for a comparison of the two product options.

What type of plan do I need?

The right plan for you is based on your needs and budget. Keep the below in mind as you shop for coverage.

  1. How you want to pay for coverage and care
  2. Access to providers and benefits offered

How do I make the most of my plan?

Consider the following to get started:

Become familiar with common health insurance terms, which will improve your understanding of the vocabulary used in the health care industry. Check out BCBSNE’s glossary and become familiar with the language.

Understand your costs, which will help you determine what you pay versus what your insurance company will. Most plans consist of a deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum.

Review your plan benefits, which will help you maximize your benefits. Be informed about:

  • Your network and which health care providers you have access to
  • Routine and preventive care services and how they work
  • Urgent or emergency care services and how they work
  • Telehealth, if included, and how it works
  • Additional perks that might be included, such as wellness programs, member discounts, self-serve tools, customer service, care management and coaching.

For more articles like this, visit Insurance 101.