Prepare to Buy Health Insurance: Key Dates to Know

Open Enrollment is the time when it’s possible to apply for a new health plan for the first time, keep your current plan or even pick a new plan than the one you have.

If you miss Open Enrollment, you won’t be able to  buy health insurance unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period  due to certain life events, such as marriage, adoption or the birth of a child, or the loss of other health coverage because you lost your job or COBRA ended.

During Open Enrollment, if you enroll:

  • Between the 1st and 15th days of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the next month.

  • Between the 16th and the last day of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the second following month. 

What happens if you don’t buy health insurance?

If you don’t have health coverage this year, you may be charged a fee.  Remember— under the Affordable Care Act, you might be able to get help paying for your health insurance  through a premium tax credit or cost sharing assistance.

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