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By Taylor Tepper and Kara Brandeisky
October 25, 2016

It’s that time of year again: Open Enrollment has begun!

But what does that mean, exactly?

It means that it’s time for you to pick a new health care plan. If you’re signing up for Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act), you can sign up starting Nov. 1. If your employer offers plans, the dates may vary, so keep an eye out. But don’t wait too long to choose a plan! Once you sign up, you can only change your health coverage if you experience a big life change, such as having a baby.

Before you sign up for any plan, if you want to keep your doctor (and not pay extra to see him or her), make sure your doctor’s practice is in-network. Out-of-network doctors cost the insurance companies more, which ends up costing you more in the long run. So doublecheck with all your doctors to see what plans they accept.

You’ll also want to check out the cost of premiums and deductibles when you sign up. Premiums are what you pay every month to have health insurance. Deductibles are what you pay for health care before your insurance kicks. Premiums may seem like a lot, but you need to watch out for deductibles, too.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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