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With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) applying for health insurance has gotten a little more complicated and, strangely enough, some what easier.

A contradiction, you say? Read on, and we'll explain.

First off, you can only apply under normal circumstances during one time out of the year. This is called open enrollment.

For the year beginning January 1, 2016, the open enrollment period begins on November 1st and ends on January 31, 2016. (There have been, and will continue to be, special enrollment periods outside of that date, but more about that later).

You can see if you qualify for a tax subsidy by using our subsidy calculation tool when you do a quote. Just insert your estimated household income for the year and the quoting tool will automatically calculate an estimated subsidy. Or call us and we'll do the estimate for you.

Remember, this is just an estimate. The government makes the final subsidy determination when you apply,. but it's usually pretty close.

If you're eligible, you have the option of having all the subsidy applied (the way most people do it), have it partially applied or having none of it applied and take a credit when you do your 2015 taxes.

If you qualify for a subsidy, you will need to set up an account through the Federal Exchange (Arizona participates in the federal exchange
instead of having its own state-specific exchange).

This can take 30-40 minutes, or sometimes even longer. The first step is creating a user name and password; be sure and write these down for future reference. The user name is your preferred e-mail address, your password is eight or more characters using at least one number, one capital letter and a special character, such as an explanation mark.

You'll need to have Social Security numbers, dates of birth, among other things, for everyone you claim as part of your household on your taxes. If you're an alien legally living in the U.S., you'll need your Green Card number.

Once you complete setting up the account, the next thing is to enroll in the plan itself. This is the relatively easy part. It just involves a few clicks of the mouse. We highly recommend, though, having the plan picked out in advance so you can do everything in one fell swoop. We can help you choose the plan that works best for you.

There are several ways to do the application. Perhaps the easiest and fastest is to do it on line after completing the account. You can do that through our website, in a matter of minutes. You can also do it through the Exchange, a more time consuming operation, either through the website or via a phone call. A paper application is, in our opinion, the slowest and most problematic way to apply.

This is the On-Exchange method of application. If you don't qualify for a subsidy, you can apply for what's called an off-Exchange plan. With these plans you can apply directly to the insurance company. You can do this through the website by clicking on "Apply" tab in the top right hand order, then clicking on "Apply on-line." You will then choose the carrier.

If you're outside of open enrollment, you may still be able to apply for health coverage if you fall into what's called a "special enrollment" period.

This would include such life changing events as moving to Arizona from another state, getting married, getting divorced, adding a dependent, or losing group health coverage, among other things.

Please contact us if you think you may fall into this special enrollment period and we'll help you decide if you're eligible to apply.

Unless you fall in a special enrollment period, you have to wait until the fall when open enrollment starts up to apply (November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016, for the 2016 year). .

It is important to note that you have to apply on or before the 15th of the month to get an effective date of the first of the following month. After you apply after the 15th, your effective date drops back to the first of the following month (i.e., October 1st instead of September 1st, if you had applied after the 15th of August).

Another important point to note is that until the carrier receives your first month's premium, whether it's an on-Exchange or off-Exchange plan, the plan will not be in effect. There's usually a five to seven day lag time from the time you apply for an on-Exchange plan and the time the company receives the information from the Exchange. (Not so much an issue for the off-Exchange plan since you're applying directly to the insurance company)

All of the carriers except BlueCross BlueShield require the first month's premium to initiate the application. (BlueCross BlueShield will bill you).

You can pay for the first month's premium using a credit card or with a bank draft with an on-line application. However, after that you need to request either an automatic bank withdrawal or (if it is offered) a paper bill (some carriers charge a hefty handling fee for a paper bill).

You can also download a paper copy from the web site. Again, click on "Apply," but this time choose "Download" instead of "On-line application" as your next choice. A paper application will take longer than an on-line ap because of the transit time in the mail, so as a rule the on-line application is faster. We don't recommend a paper application because of the processing time.


If you apply on line, you will be approved at the time you apply. A paper application will take much longer. There is guaranteed issue on all applications, so there is no reason you would be declined. (Tobacco users are rated up automatically, though). There is no application fee with an ACA plan.


No physical is required, since all plans are guaranteed issue. Health history is not an issue.


Insurance carriers are encouraging customers to set up automatic bank withdrawals. This is advantageous for them, because it allows them to count on a constant cash flow, but it ensures the consumer does not miss a payment because the premium bill was lost in the mail or paid in a timely manner.
While some carriers still offer paper billing, they normally attach a service fee to process a paper bill. No carrier that we are contracted with will accept a credit card payment beyond the initial payment that comes in with the application.


Can you change a plan once you're enrolled in it? Depends. Some carriers have grace period in which you can switch; with others you need to wait until the next open enrollment period.

If you fall you into a special enrollment period you can change at that time.

That is why it is worth going through a licensed broker or agent who can work to find the best plan for you. You don't want the hassle of having to change plans, so it's better to pick the right plan in the beginning. Everyone's needs are different and an agent is in the best position to find the plan that fits. The cost is the same.


We offer you years of experience and knowledge, a commitment to service and follow up. Since you're not paying any more for our services, why not take advantage of them?

You can run your Arizona Health Quote here to view rates and plans side by side from the major carriers...Free.

Again, there is absolutely no cost to you for our services.  Call 866-344-8061 Today!


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To Get Started

You PICK...HOw do you want to start the process:

Click on the Instant Quote link and provide census information.  Stateside will respond with a proposal that outlines your various plan options with premium cost.

Call (866) 344-8061 (toll free) and speak with a licensed (and helpful) representative regarding your coverage, subsidy and enrollment questions.

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