Covered California Deadline and Effective Dates

It pays to plan ahead.

An effective date is the first day your insurance company starts to cover you. They will not pay for medical expenses prior to this date. It’s a general rule of thumb that coverage starts the first day of the month.

Submit your application by the applicable Covered California deadline in order for the insurance company to honor a particular effective date. As always, we recommend submitting your application ahead of time rather than the day of the Covered California deadline. This way you beat the rush, and provide time for any corrections needed on the application.

How It Works During Open Enrollment

Most anyone can sign up, renew a plan, or make plan changes during open enrollment. The effective date is determined by the date the application is submitted or plan change was requested. This chart is not reflective of each year’s open enrollment dates, so make sure to double check before you make plans.

Open Enrollment Deadline Effective Date
  • Enroll
  • Health Plan Change
  • Health Plan Renewal
December 15th January 1st
January 15th February 1st

How It Works During Special Open Enrollment

Outside the open enrollment window is the special enrollment period. During this timeframe a qualified life event occurring within the last 60 days is required in order to enroll. Sixty days past is counted from the date the application is submitted.

Special Open Enrollment Deadline  Effective Date 
Had a baby or adopted a child Within 60 days of event Date of birth or adoption
Lost or will soon lose health insurance Last day of the month 1st of the following month
Got married or entered into a domestic partnership 15th of the month 1st of the following month
Permanently moved to/within California
Gained citizenship/lawful presence
Returned from active duty military service
Released from jail or prison
Federally Recognized American Indian or Alaska Native


There is a short period of time when open enrollment and special enrollment overlap.

What if you move permanently to California the first week in November and need your insurance to start December 1st? Well, it is the open enrollment period, but for general applications the effective date is January 1st and you need coverage sooner.

In order to get the correct effective date, your application would need to be:

  1. Marked as an application with a special qualifying life event of “permanently moved to California” within the last 60 days

  2. Submitted no later than the Covered California deadline of November 15th

It can be a little tricky. If you find yourself in this situation, give us a call at 1-877-752-4737 and we can walk you through the process.

Pay Your First Month’s Premium

Nothing is final until you pay. Remember, you can submit your application on time, but unless you pay your first month’s premium, your health insurance will not be activated for the effective date you want.