Self-insured employees are responsible for their own healthcare. As part of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), there are now Health Insurance Marketplaces which you can access to shop for insurance. More information can be found here.
Most ACA plans come in four categories: platinum, gold, silver, and bronze. These are designed to cover 90%, 80%, 70%, or 60% of medical expenses, respectively. If you choose a bronze plan you’ll generally pay lower premiums (the monthly fee you have to pay for your insurance) but your annual deductible (the amount you have to pay towards medical expenses before the insurance coverage kicks in and starts paying your medical bills) may be as high as $8,000, whereas platinum plans can have deductibles below $1,000.
While it varies by state, typically you have to enroll in an ACA plan by August 15. The only people who can enroll after that enrollment deadline are people that experience a “qualifying event”. Examples of qualifying events are divorce or loss of coverage (i.e. if you lost your job), among others.