If you’re looking for health insurance, you may have heard about the open enrollment period. open enrollment is an opportunity for you to stop, start, or change your health insurance.
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For Affordable Care Act insurance plans, open enrollment runs from November 15 through January 15. however, you must register before December 15 for coverage to begin on January 1. It’s important to note that open enrollment for health insurance can vary by state.
what is open enrollment?
Open enrollment for health insurance refers to a specific period when you can stop, start, or change health care coverage. If you don’t have health insurance, this is an opportunity for you to shop around for different plans and select one. If your health needs have changed, this is an opportunity for you to change your current health insurance plan to one that better suits your current needs.
when does open enrollment start?
Generally, the federal open enrollment period for health insurance begins on November 1.
when does open enrollment end?
Open enrollment typically ends January 15, but may vary slightly depending on the plan you choose. Please note that in order to have health care coverage before January 1st, you will need to sign up before December 15th.
open enrollment by state
For state-run marketplaces, there may be different enrollment dates.
See the chart below for specific information about open enrollment periods in your state or to start comparing health insurance plans in your state:
2022 open enrollment dates by state
Your “effective date” refers to the date you can start using your new health insurance plan. The effective date of a health insurance plan purchased during the national open enrollment period is January 1 of the following year. Please note that if you sign up for health insurance in a state that has extended its open enrollment period, the effective date of your coverage will vary depending on when you apply.
how does the coronavirus pandemic affect when open enrollment happens?
The federal government, which manages the marketplaces for most states on healthcare.gov, is not currently expanding open enrollment due to the coronavirus. however, the situation is constantly changing and many states have individually extended their open enrollment periods in the past due to covid. As fall open enrollment approaches, you should check the enrollment dates for your specific state, as enrollment timeframes may vary based on where you live. in fact, some states have passed legislation permanently extending open enrollment into the future.
The federal government, which manages the marketplaces for most states on healthcare.gov, is not currently expanding open enrollment for coverage due to the spread of the coronavirus. a number of state-run markets have enacted special registration periods (Septembers).
A number of state-run marketplaces have enacted Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) that may allow you to enroll or change plans outside of open enrollment. In addition, the Biden administration’s US/Covid bailout created a special enrollment period in the federal marketplace.
Outside of open enrollment, you must have a qualifying event to enroll in a Marketplace plan or make changes. If you have experienced a life-changing event, such as a divorce, relocation, or loss of work-related group health coverage, you may qualify for a separation. job loss, furlough, or reduced hours related to covid-19 may have resulted in the loss of your group health coverage. many states have updated their eligibility criteria in light of covid-19, and you may qualify for a sep to apply for health coverage from the marketplace.
what are the enrollment periods for medicare?
once you turn 65, you will be eligible for medicare. the initial enrollment window is seven months. It begins three months before your 65th birthday and continues for seven months thereafter.
After you turn 65, you can stop or change your health coverage between January 1 and March 31 of each year. There are also certain situations where you can enroll during the special enrollment window, which is only available for a limited time. If you don’t log out during the special enrollment period, you’ll have to wait until the next general open enrollment window to enroll.
If you have questions about whether you’re eligible for a special enrollment period, one of our licensed insurance agents can help.
what is the difference between annual and open enrollment?
Many people have questions about the basics of open enrollment, and this includes open enrollment for group insurance. There’s a big difference between annual enrollment and open enrollment that you’ll want to be aware of when considering enrolling in health care coverage.
- Annual Enrollment is the window when people who get their health insurance through their employer can choose a health care plan.
- Open enrollment applies to people who need to get insurance in the individual market.
- Are you looking for coverage for yourself or your family?
- Do you or your family have any chronic medical needs that need to be addressed?
- Looking for a plan that has a low deductible or low premium?
- Do you think you will get health insurance through an employer in the near future?
- If you’ve lost health coverage because you lost your job or your income status has changed, you may qualify for a special enrollment period.
- If you’ve recently moved, you may need to change health plans and may qualify for a special enrollment window.
- If you’ve recently had a baby or adopted a child, you may qualify for a special enrollment window.
- If you are recently married, your health insurance may change and you may be able to find health insurance during the special enrollment period.
- You may qualify for a special enrollment opportunity if you earn below a certain income limit.
tips for open enrollment 2022
1. shop early.
In the past, open enrollment periods have been extended for the federal healthcare.gov marketplace and some state-run exchanges. however, since the rules are constantly changing, it is better not to have extensions. if you need aca health insurance coverage, or if you have it now but want to switch to another aca plan, shop early to avoid missing the open enrollment deadline in your state. Keep in mind that even in states that have permanently extended their open enrollment periods, January 1 coverage is generally available only if you apply by the December 15 deadline.
as of early 2022, more than 35 million people were enrolled in aca-related plans.
2. consider what type of coverage you will need.
Take the time to really think about the type of coverage you need. Some of the factors to consider include:
Also consider the different health insurance providers available. If you need help navigating the process, our licensed insurance agents are here to help.
3. analyze the nuances of your state.
Because many states are trying to respond to the needs of residents, open enrollment dates may or may not be extended. As mentioned, it’s always best to check with your state insurance department for information on open enrollment for 2022. Or feel free to call eHealth at the number on this page; our knowledgeable licensed insurance agents can help explain what your options are this year and what the rules are in your state.
alt text: illustration of three people with text that reads: “as of early 2022, more than 35 million people were enrolled in aca-related plans. source: hhs.gov.”
4. use our plan search tool.
You can compare your coverage options using eHealth’s online search tool and find affordable individual and family health insurance. We make it easy to find health plans that fit your needs and budget. just answer a few questions about your coverage needs and we’ll show you plans here in your state with a variety of benefits and costs. If you want expert advice or assistance, you can speak to one of eHealth’s trusted licensed insurance agents. Our services are free, and you are not required to purchase insurance to receive our help in finding affordable health coverage that meets your needs.
how can you get health insurance outside of open enrollment?
If you want health insurance outside of the open enrollment period, you must qualify for the special enrollment period. this means qualifying through one of the major events.
what are the events that qualify for the special registration period?
Several qualifying events may allow you to find health insurance during the special enrollment window. include:
if you qualify for sep, you have 60 days to enroll in an insurance plan.
get ready for open enrollment with ehealth
There are many insurance options available and the right health insurance for one person is not necessarily the right health insurance for you. ehealth can help you compare different health insurance plans. That way, you can find the right plan for you and your family during the health insurance open enrollment period. get started today.