National open enrollment is the time of year when people can enroll in a health insurance policy for the following calendar year. Open Enrollment generally runs from the beginning of November through the end of December each calendar year.
In some states (such as California, New York, and Maryland) the exact open enrollment dates will differ and even extend into the next calendar year.
The exact dates usually aren’t made publicly available until sometime in September, so check back here for more information on exact dates as we get closer to the projected of Open Enrollment.
Outside of Open Enrollment
Special enrollment periods
Outside of open enrollment, you can only purchase major medical insurance* if you've experienced a qualifying life event. Some common qualifying life events include:
- Having a baby, adopting a child, or becoming a foster parent
- Getting married
- Involuntarily losing health coverage (i.e. aging out of a parent's policy, losing coverage provided by an employer, losing coverage due to divorce)
- Moving to an area where different policies are available
- Changes in your income that affect the coverage for which you qualify
For a complete list, please see: Getting 2019 coverage with a Special Enrollment Period
Short-term medical policies
If you find yourself outside of open enrollment and don't qualify for a special enrollment period, you can still purchase a form of coverage called short-term medical insurance.
Short-term medical policies work the same way as traditional insurance but aren’t as comprehensive.
Since short-term policies aren’t available through healthcare.gov, you can access similar insurance marketplaces via eHealth and StrideHealth to see if this type of policy will work for you and your family until the next open enrollment period or until you qualify for a special enrollment period.
*Note: For more information on what constitutes “major medical insurance” please see - Healthcare.gov (Minimum Essential Coverage)