There are certain times when you can buy a health plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace. These times are called Open Enrollment and a Special Enrollment Period. When it's time to buy a health plan or change the plan you have, start by going to HealthCare.gov to get a quote or find the link to your state health insurance Marketplace.
Shop for Health Insurance During Open Enrollment
What's Open Enrollment?
Each year, there are set dates when individuals and families can buy or change their health insurance. This time period is called Open Enrollment. Open Enrollment for the 2018 plan year is over. Open Enrollment for the 2019 plan year starts November 1, 2018 and goes to December 15, 2018 in most states. Some states may have a longer Open Enrollment period.
Shop for Health Insurance During a Special Enrollment Period
What if I missed Open Enrollment?
You can't change your coverage until the next Open Enrollment period unless you have certain life changes. This is also called a "qualifying life event," and it means something major happened in your life before or after the Open Enrollment period. In this case, you have 60 days to change your plan. This is called a Special Enrollment Period.
When do I qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?
If any of these life changes happen, your Special Enrollment Period begins:
- 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
Are you going through any of these situations? If you are, you may be eligible to apply for health insurance coverage during the Special Enrollment Period by shopping on HealthCare.gov.
Get Ready to Apply for Health Insurance
Before it's time to choose a plan, there are a few things you can do to prepare. You can gather information about your family's health care needs, compare costs of health plans, and find out if you qualify for financial assistance. When the Open Enrollment or your Special Enrollment Period begins, you will have everything you need to shop for a health plan that fits your needs.