Covered California: Enrollment Dates and When to Apply

When is the best time to complete a Covered California Application?  A week, if not more, before your deadline. 

Don’t wait until the last minute. It’s those that put it off to the end that find themselves unhappy with the coverage or fixing application mistakes that were submitted in haste.

Give yourself a cushion of at least a week, if not more, before the Covered California deadline. This way you have time to:

  • Select the right health plan coverage level
  • Determine which health insurance company will cover a particular doctor you may want
  • Check which plan will give you the best benefits for prescription drugs you may be taking
  • Collect information needed on the application for self and/or family members applying
  • Call and ask questions if needed
  • Submit application before the deadline and beat the rush
  • Allow sufficient time for the insurance company to receive your application information from Covered California and load into their system. This will get the ball rolling for a bill to be generated and then the insurance activated.

Deadlines and Enrollment Dates

Deadlines and effective dates do play a significant role in timing.  So, what are the deadlines to sign up? The answer to this question will change depending on the time of year you enroll.  Personal circumstances may be a factor, but follow these general guidelines to keep you on track.

If it’s the Covered California Open Enrollment Period

  • Apply by December 15th for health insurance to start January 1st.

If it’s the Covered California Special Enrollment Period

  • Apply by the 15th of the month if you have a qualifying life event within the last 60 days. Coverage starts the 1st of the following month.


Not sure how Obamacare affects your health care plans in California? Learn how the ACA works in California, including benefits, costs and enrollment.

Covered California is the Golden State’s official health exchange marketplace where individuals, families and small businesses can find high-quality, low-cost California government health insurance.

Learn about Obamacare income guidelines in California using our income limits chart, and see if you’re eligible for government assistance.

Learn about the Covered California website. Find easy online enrollment. Set up your account, log in, buy insurance and more on the California health marketplace website.