During the yearly Open Enrollment Period, you can enroll in or change a health plan any time. Enroll by the 15th of the month and coverage starts the first day of the next month.
But if you have certain life changes, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to start your coverage sooner.
- If you have a baby, adopt a child, or place a child for foster care: Your coverage can start the day of the event – even if you enroll in the plan up to 60 days afterward, and even if the 60-day deadline is in 2017.
- Example: You had a baby December 17, 2016 and enroll in a 2016 plan January 21, 2017. The coverage applies to medical services from December 17 through December 31, 2016. You should also enroll in a 2017 plan during the 2017 Open Enrollment Period, which ends January 31, 2017. Note: If the event happened in 2016, you’ll need to contact the Marketplace Call Center to enroll in 2016 coverage.
- If you get married or lose health coverage: Pick a plan by the last day of the month and your coverage can start the first day of the next month.
- Example: You lose job-based health coverage January 17. Enroll in a plan by January 31 and your coverage can start February 1. Without a Special Enrollment Period, your coverage would start March 1.
Life changes that can qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period
Coverage can start sooner:
- Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child for foster care
- Getting married
- Losing health coverage, including:
- A job-based plan
- Medicaid, CHIP, or Medicare
- A student health plan
- Losing coverage through a family member’s death, divorce or legal separation, or change in dependent status
- Moving to a new state, county, or ZIP code (including students moving to or from school, seasonal work moves, or moves from a shelter or transitional housing)
- Moving to the U.S. from a foreign country or U.S. territory
- Changes in your income or household size that affect the coverage you qualify for
- Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
- Becoming newly eligible for Marketplace coverage because you became a U.S. citizen
- Leaving incarceration
- AmeriCorps VISTA members starting or ending their service
Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods for complex issues.
Think you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?
- Just start a Marketplace application or log in to an existing one. You’ll find out if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Either way, we’ll tell you when your coverage starts.
- When you apply you’ll also find out if you qualify for coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If you do, coverage can start the day you apply or earlier.
CREATE AN ACCOUNT OR LOG IN TO APPLY
Important: You may need to submit documents to prove you qualify
When you apply, you must attest that the information on your application is true, including facts that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. You may be asked to submit documents that prove you qualify.