The open enrollment period to sign up for health insurance in the Marketplace that starts in 2016 ended on January 31, 2016.
Can I get coverage outside of the open enrollment period?
The next open enrollment period to apply for a plan in the Marketplace will run from November 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017, for health insurance coverage that starts in 2017. Folks who did not enroll by January 31, 2016 will have to wait until the next open enrollment period, unless they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period because they meet certain conditions (see below) or qualify for low-cost or free coverage through Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program).
Enrolling through Medicaid or CHIP
Many people may qualify for low-cost or free health insurance through Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) – and enrollment in these programs is open year-round. Eligibility for Medicaid varies from state to state and is based on income and family size. To find out if you may be eligible for low-cost or free health insurance, check out our cost calculator.
If you have more questions, contact your state’s Medicaid or CHIP program. You can find state contact information here.
Enrolling through the Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event
If you are not eligible for Medicaid, you may enroll in a new plan on the Marketplace before the next open enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event, such as:
- Losing other health insurance coverage (unless the loss of coverage resulted from failure to pay premiums or was a voluntary cancellation). This could include losing eligibility for job-based coverage or COBRA (loss of job or reduction in work hours), losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP; losing coverage due to divorce or legal separation; or aging off a parent’s coverage at age 26;
- Getting married (including legally married same-sex spouses);
- Getting divorced (if divorce or legal separation results in loss of coverage);
- Giving birth or adopting a child;
- Becoming a lawfully present immigrant or citizen;
- Having a change in income that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions. This applies to individuals who have already enrolled in Marketplace coverage and become newly eligible for financial help and individuals who live in a state that has not expanded Medicaid and have a change in income that makes them newly eligible for premium tax credits;
- Losing pregnancy-related Medicaid coverage;
- Permanently moving to a new state or area with different health coverage options; or
- Discovering a problem with your enrollment or non-enrollment due to an error by the Marketplace.
Generally, a person has 30 to 60 days from the qualifying life event to take action and sign up for coverage in the Marketplace. Go to healthcare.gov to find out more.
November 2016 will come sooner than you think!
If you didn’t get enrolled this time around, and find out you are not eligible for Medicaid, you can enroll in coverage in just a few months and have coverage starting January 2017. Take the time now to figure out what’s most important to you in a health insurance plan – and what kind of financial help you may be eligible for.