Open Enrollment Period: For Individual and Family Health Insurance
Open enrollment period is the window of time during the year when
Most anyone can sign up for health insurance
You can renew a current health plan
You can change the type of health plan you have
You can change the insurance company you are enrolled with
Before healthcare reform, people could sign up for health insurance at any time during the year. Today most applications and plan changes are only accepted during the open enrollment period. Outside of the open enrollment period is the special enrollment period. A qualified life event is required to enroll or change plans during this period.
Open Enrollment Dates
|2017||November 1 – January 31|
|2018||November 1 – January 31|
|2019 and beyond||November 1 – December 15|
These dates were announced by CMS (Centers of Medicare & Medicaid) as the open enrollment period for the Federal Government’s Health Insurance Exchange. Covered California can change the dates for California, but historically they have always followed the same timeframe.
Effective Dates and Deadlines
An effective date is the date your health insurance starts. Your health plan will not cover medical expenses before this date. If you need health insurance to start by a certain date, it is crucial you know the effective date you want, and the deadline the application must be submitted by.
What is the difference between open enrollment period and special open enrollment? A whole lot.
|Open Enrollment||Special Open Enrollment|
|Who can apply?||Most everyone ( i.e. All U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals or lawfully present immigrants)||Only those with a qualified life event|
|When can you apply?||During open enrollment window of time||Within 60 days of the qualifying life event date|
As always, a few exceptions apply. For example, federally recognized American-Indians, Native Alaskans, and those who qualify for Medi-Cal may apply year-round and are not limited to the open enrollment period.