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Marketplace America.org Health Insurance

When is the Next Enrollment Period for Health Insurance: A Clear Guide

Learn the importance of ACA enrollment periods. Find out when & how to enroll or change plans to get the best coverage.
Customer Wondering When is the Next Enrollment Period for Health Insurance
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“Why do I have to wait until November to get health insurance? What am I supposed to do in the meantime? I can’t cover myself in bubble wrap and stay inside year-round.”

Sound familiar?

You’re not alone.

You understand that having health insurance and getting it yearly is important. The problem is that life happens and situations change outside our control. 

Let’s see if we can get things back on track so you and your family can get covered.

There are specific times of the year when you can enroll in or change your health insurance plan. The dates for these enrollment periods depend on the state you live in.

For most states, the enrollment period for 2024 coverage begins on November 1, 2023, and ends on January 15, 2024. Some state-run exchanges have later deadlines but there are outliers. For example, Idaho has a shorter enrollment period. Idaho’s annual enrollment period ends on December 15. (Below, we included dates for specific states.)
 
Getting the timing correct is crucial for enrollment and starting insurance plans.
 
Make sure you know the enrollment window for your state. It is important so you don’t miss out on getting the best health insurance plans each year.
Key Takeaways
  • The next enrollment period for health coverage depends on the state in which you live.
  • In most states, the open enrollment period for coverage begins on November 1 and ends on January 15.
  • Enrolling in a plan by December 15 means your coverage starts January 1.

When is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance 2024?

The next open enrollment period for 2024 will run from November 1, 2023 through January 15, 2024. This is a perfect time to enroll in a new plan or make changes to your existing one. 

Want coverage to start January 1, 2024?
Renew or sign-up for a health plan by December 15, 2023.

If you miss the yearly open enrollment, you might be eligible to enroll during a special enrollment period. For this to work, you will need to have a qualifying event. More information on this is below.

Have questions about enrollment or qualifying events?
Contact your state’s health insurance marketplace or one of our licensed agents to assist you.

Understanding Health Insurance Enrollment Periods

There are two main types of enrollment periods: open enrollment and special enrollment. Understanding both of them can make the enrollment process easier.

What is an Open Enrollment Period?

This is the time of the year when you can enroll, re-enroll, or change your marketplace coverage. It is important for you to know the dates and deadlines for the state-run marketplaces.
 
If you miss the annual open enrollment, you may have to wait until open enrollment happens next year. But, there are some exceptions if you qualify for a special enrollment period.

What is a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)?

A special enrollment period is an extended enrollment period. SEPs are only available to people when they experience qualifying life events. For example, if you lose your job-based coverage, you have 60 days from the date you lose your coverage to find a new health plan
 
It is important to understand that not all qualifying events trigger a SEP. Here is a list of common life events that can qualify you.
 

Eligible Special Enrollment Life Events

  • Getting married
  • Had a baby, adopted a child, or placed a child in foster care
  • Divorced or separated
  • Death
  • New home with a new ZIP code or county
  • Moved to the U.S. from a foreign country or U.S. territory
  • Moved to/from where you attend school as a student
  • Moved to/from a place you both live and work
  • Moved to/from a shelter or transitional housing
  • Loss of job-based insurance
  • Loss of individual health coverage
  • Loss/denied Medicaid or CHIP
  • Loss of eligibility for Medicare
  • Loss coverage through a family member/parent’s health plan
  • An employer offers to help with the cost of insurance
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen
  • Leaving incarceration

This is only a small list of life events. Look into what qualifies because marketplaces will have different rules based on your location. Acting quickly could mean the difference between being insured and waiting several months to enroll.

What is a State Based Exchange?

A state based exchange or state based marketplace (SMB) is a government website where you can buy health insurance. It is similar to Healthcare.gov, but it’s run by states with their own marketplaces (18 states in total). State health insurance markets offer a variety of plans, including individual health insurance plans and small group plans. 

When is the Annual Open Enrollment for
State Insurance Exchanges?

Here is a breakdown of the states that have their own health insurance marketplaces, along with the upcoming year’s enrollment period:

  • California: Covered California runs from October 15, 2023, to January 31, 2024.
  • Colorado: Connect for Health Colorado runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
  • Connecticut: Access Health CT runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
  • District of Columbia: DC Health Link runs from November 1, 2023, to January 31, 2024.
  • Idaho: Your Health Idaho runs from November 1, 2023, to December 15, 2023.
  • Kentucky: Kynect runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
  • Maine: CoverME runs from November 1, 2023, to December 15, 2023.
  • Maryland: Maryland Health Connection runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts Health Connector runs from November 1, 2023, to January 23, 2024.
  • Minnesota: MNsure runs from November 1, 2023, to December 15, 2023.
  • Nevada: Nevada Health Link runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
  • New Jersey: Get Covered New Jersey runs from November 1, 2023, to January 31, 2024.
  • New Mexico: BeWellnm runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
  • New York: New York State of Health runs from November 1, 2023, to January 31, 2024.
  • Pennsylvania: Pennie runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
  • Rhode Island: Health Source Rhode Island runs from November 1, 2023, to December 31, 2023.
  • Vermont: Vermont Health Connect runs from November 1, 2023, to December 15, 2023.
  • Washington: Washington HealthPlanFinder runs from November 1, 2023, to January 15, 2024.
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What Options Do I Have for Health Insurance? (I Need Health Insurance Now)

There are several options for health insurance. The best option for you depends on your individual needs and circumstances. Here are some health coverage options to consider:

Medicaid

Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program for low-income individuals and families. It is run by the states, with federal funds. Each state has their own set of guidelines for Medicaid coverage. 

By Federal law all states are required to provide these mandatory benefits:

  • Inpatient and outpatient hospital services
  • Physician services
  • Laboratory and x-ray services
  • Home health services

Optional Benefits:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Case management
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy

Check with your state’s official website to verify what is covered.

Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

CHIP is similar to Medicaid. This is a government-funded low-cost health insurance program for children and teens. Each state sets their own guidelines for coverage.

Here are some benefits that come with CHIP:

  • Regular check-ups
  • Immunizations
  • Doctor and dentist visits
  • Hospital care
  • Mental health services
  • Prescriptions

For more information, please check out InsureKidsNow.gov to view CHIP qualifications for your state.

Private Health Insurance

Also known as private medical insurance. This is insurance purchased directly from a private insurance company. Being private allows you to choose the level of care you receive, how and when it is provided.

Short-Term Health Insurance Plan

Short term health insurance policies are health insurance policies that typically last for 3-12 months. These plans are usually less expensive than traditional health insurance plans, but may have less coverage and fewer benefits.

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Answering Your
Open Enrollment Questions

How Often Do Open Enrollment Periods Usually Occur?

They occur yearly. You can start enrolling in a Marketplace based health insurance plan from November 1 – January 15.

How Many Days Does a Special Enrollment Period Allow an Individual to Enroll in a Qualified Health Plan Under the Affordable Care?

You have 60 days. Depending on your type of Special Enrollment Period, you have 60 days before or 60 days after the qualifying life event to enroll.

Does Everyone Qualify for the Affordable Care Act?

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)/Obamacare anyone can purchase health insurance. If your household income is 100% – 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) then you may qualify for reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Do Insurance Companies Ask About Pre Existing Conditions?

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)/Obamacare anyone can purchase health insurance. If your household income is 100% – 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) then you may qualify for reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

Can You Only Get Health Insurance During Open Enrollment?

No. You can get health insurance outside of open enrollment through a Special Enrollment Period. There are a few exceptions that allow you to do this.

List of exceptions:

  • Losing your job
  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Moving
  • Change in income
  • Medicaid and CHIP eligibility

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