Open Enrollment: Important Dates to Remember 2

Jeff Hess, individual, group, and ancillary health expert, wants to make sure that you don’t find yourself without health insurance this year. Make sure  you know the dates for Open Enrollment. Watch the video below to learn when the start dates as well as when the cut-off dates are for this ACA season. You’ll also learn about the exception to the rule – special enrollment.

Okay, open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a set time when people can enroll in a qualified health plan. It actually starts November 1st and goes through ‘til January 31st. During that time frame, anybody can get an individual medical plan – or ACA plan or, if you prefer, an Obamacare plan – that’s qualified and will keep you from the penalty. Of course, we’ll go over the penalty at another time. More importantly, I want to stress that the 3-month window is really about the only time to enroll.

Special Enrollment

Starting February 1st through the rest of the year, the only time that you can get health insurance is having a special enrollment period. If you don’t have a special enrollment period, you may have a life changing event, meaning involuntarily losing coverage. In other words, let’s say that you got fired or you quit your job where you had health coverage. Even if you quit your job (you voluntarily quit the job, but by quitting and losing employment, you involuntarily lose coverage), then that means at that point you have 60 days to get coverage.

Also, if you get married, move from one state to another state that doesn’t accept your current plan, have a child, adopt a child, etc…then you have 60 days to get new coverage for the entire family. Again, February 1st all the way up to Open Enrollment, the only way you can get a qualified Affordable Care Act plan is actually by having a special enrollment. If not, you can’t get a qualified health plan.


It’s important to remember the dates – November 1st to January 31st. That is your Open Enrollment time frame; that’s when you can go out and get a qualified plan. Now we have options outside of Open Enrollment in case you don’t have a special enrollment period; you can get a health plan, just not a qualified health plan. So, it’s very important – November 1st to January 31st.

Now to get a January 1st effective date, you have from November 1st to December 15th. If you get a plan – do an application – at that time, you get a January 1st effective date; however, if you wait ‘til December 16th, then you get a February 1st effective date. These are the cut-off dates: December 15th, January 15th, and of course January 31st.

Have Health Insurance Questions?

We hope that this information on open enrollment dates is helpful for you.

Insurance is oftentimes overwhelming and we want to shed light on the industry by answering your questions. Comment below and your question may be the topic of our next post!

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2 thoughts on “Open Enrollment: Important Dates to Remember

  • Cynthia Salaiz

    I just lost my health insurance after being fired from my job on November 8, 2016. How long will I be given to find an individual health plan for myself? I am asking because my company, where I worked for 24 years let me go knowing that I was in a financial dilemma and due to medical reasons I depleted my finances and I am currently waiting on my 401K to be released to me and I have also filed for SSI disability which could take months to even a couple of years to get approved. Don’t know when I will have funds to pay my premium.

    • empowerhealth

      I’m sorry to hear about your loss of job and coverage, Cynthia. It must be frustrating for you. To answer your question, you have 63 days to accept COBRA coverage or until January 31, 2017 to get a marketplace ACA plan. There are so many choices and ramifications for each decision, that it would be best for one of our agents to gather information and come up with a custom option for you. We will advise you to do what’s best for you and your situation, even if that means accepting COBRA coverage and not buying a plan through us. We are very good at finding options for consumers. It may work to get a marketplace plan and take the subsidy if you qualify. Or it may be better to get on COBRA while you wait for your SSI to kick in. Having no funds, it would be best to see if you can qualify for a marketplace plan with a subsidy. But we won’t know until we have all the facts. Call us at (844) 410-1320 and let our agents look into it. You will be in my prayers.