There are certain times during the year when you can buy a health plan directly through Cigna or on the Health Insurance Marketplace. These periods of time are called the Open Enrollment and the Special Enrollment periods.
The Open Enrollment Period is the time when individuals and families can buy a new health plan or make changes to their current health plan directly through Cigna or on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Plans that are effective on January 1 have an Open Enrollment Period from November 1 - December 15 of the year before, in most states.
For example, if you wanted to enroll or make changes to a plan with an effective date of January 1, 2021, your Open Enrollment Period would run from November 1 - December 15, 2020.
Some states may have a longer Open Enrollment Period.1
If you recently lost your health insurance coverage for any reason (including COVID-19) in the past 60 days or you expect to lose coverage in the next 60 days or had a major life event, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Qualifying major life events include:
- You lose your health insurance plan at work
- You get married or divorced
- You have or adopt a child
- You're no longer a dependent on someone else's policy
- You gained or became a dependent through marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption
- You lose Medicaid or CHIP coverage
- Your insurance carrier made a mistake on your insurance contract or made an enrollment error
- You have a Marketplace plan and your status for getting help to pay for your plan changes
- You moved and need to pick another plan based on the insurance coverage area
- Your immigration status changes
- And other qualifying life events
Important note: Because FEMA declared COVID-19 a national emergency, you may also qualify for Special Enrollment if you lost health coverage through your employer more than 60 days ago—but since January 1, 2020—and you couldn’t enroll in health insurance coverage due to COVID-19.
If you voluntarily dropped your coverage, you cannot qualify for a Special Enrollment Period unless you also had a decrease in household income or a change in your previous coverage that made you eligible.
During the Special Enrollment Period, you may qualify for both a premium tax credit and a cost-sharing reduction to help lower your health insurance premium and total out-of-pocket costs.
1 Some states may have a longer Open Enrollment period.