Open Enrollment Ahead Yield Sign; open enrollment dates

The federal government has declared a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that re-opens the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace from February 15 to August 15, 2021.1

The 2021 Open Enrollment Period (OEP) began November 1, 2020, and ended December 15, 2020, in most states.

The chart below shows the SEP dates for the states that use the federal ACA exchange.2 Coverage begins the first day of the month after you sign up. For example, if you signed up February 15, your coverage would have been effective March 1.1

States Federal Special Enrollment Period for 20212
Alabama February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Alaska February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Arizona February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Arkansas February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Delaware February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Florida February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Georgia February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Hawaii February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Illinois February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Indiana February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Iowa February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Kansas February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Kentucky February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Louisiana February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Maine February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Michigan February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Mississippi February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Missouri February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Montana February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Nebraska February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
New Hampshire February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
New Mexico February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
North Carolina February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
North Dakota February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Ohio February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Oklahoma February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Oregon February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
South Carolina February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
South Dakota February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Tennessee February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Texas February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Utah February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Virginia February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
West Virginia February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Wisconsin February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021
Wyoming February 15, 2021 – August 15, 2021

Some states with their own ACA exchanges have extended Open Enrollment 2021 periods. The chart below shows the deadlines and coverage effective dates for select states with extended enrollment periods and SEPs.

State May 1, 2021
Effective Date
June 1, 2021
Effective Date
July 1, 2021
Effective Date
August 1, 2021
Effective Date
September 1, 2021
Effective Date
October 1, 2021
Effective Date
November 1, 2021
Effective Date
December 1, 2021
Effective Date
California3,4 April 30, 2021 May 15, 20215
Colorado6 April 30, 2021 May 31, 2021 June 30, 2021 July 31, 2021 August 15, 2021
Connecticut7 April 15, 2021 May 15, 2021 June 15, 2021 July 15, 2021 August 15, 2021
Idaho8 April 30, 2021
Maryland9 May 15, 2021 June 15, 2021 July 15, 2021 August 15, 2021
Massachusetts10 April 23, 2021 May 23, 2021 June 32, 2021 July 23, 2021
Minnesota11  April 30, 2021 May 31, 2021 June 30, 2021 July 16, 2021
Nevada12  April 30, 2021 May 31, 2021 June 30, 2021 July 31, 2021 August 15, 2021
New Jersey13  April 30, 2021 May 31, 2021 June 30, 2021 July 31, 2021 August 31, 2021 September 30, 2021 October 31, 2021 November 30, 2021
New York14 April 15, 2021 May 15, 2021 June 15, 2021 July 15, 2021 August 15, 2021 September 15, 2021 October 15, 2021 November 15, 2021
Pennsylvania15,16  April 30, 2021 May 31, 2021 June 30, 2021 July 31, 2021 August 15, 2021
Rhode Island17  April 23, 2021 May 23, 2021 June 23, 2021 July 23, 2021 August 15, 2021
Vermont18 April 30, 2021 May 14, 2021
Washington DC19 April 20, 2021/May31, 2021*
Washington20,21  April 15, 2021 May 15, 2021 June 15, 2021 July 15, 2021 August 15, 2021
*In Washington, DC, residents can have coverage effective immediately. For example, if residents sign up by March 31, they can choose for their coverage to begin on either March 1 or April 1.19

I Missed My State’s Open Enrollment Deadline. Can I Still Get Healthcare Coverage?

If you missed the enrollment deadline in your state, it is still possible that you can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that will allow you to apply for health insurance. You can qualify for an SEP if you have experienced a qualifying life event.22 Qualifying life events can include:23

  • The loss of health insurance through a job.
  • Household changes such as marriage, divorce, a death in the family, or having a baby.
  • A change in your home address.

See a list of qualifying life events. You have 60 days to enroll in a plan, if you qualify for an SEP. But, if you miss that 60-day window, you will have to wait until OEP to enroll in an individual health insurance policy for 2022.22

If you missed the 2021 Open Enrollment Period in your state and you do not qualify for an SEP, you can apply for a short-term health insurance plan. Short-term health insurance coverage can be purchased outside of OEP for up to 364 days, and you can reapply for short-term coverage for up to 36 months in most states. Short-term health insurance plans might be a good, temporary fit for healthy people, as they will not cover pre-existing conditions like Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans.

If you do not qualify for an SEP and decide not to apply for a short-term health plan, you will have to wait until Open Enrollment 2022 begins in fall 2021.22

HealthMarkets can help you determine whether you qualify for an SEP and find an individual health plan that meets your needs. Shop, compare, and enroll in a health plan today.

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References

1. “2021 Special Enrollment Period Access Extended to August 15 on HealthCare.gov for Marketplace Coverage.” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). March 23, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021-special-enrollment-period-access-extended-august-15-healthcaregov-marketplace-coverage
2. “State Health Insurance Marketplace Types, 2021.” Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/health-reform/state-indicator/state-health-insurance-marketplace-types/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
3. Covered California. Retrieved from https://www.coveredca.com/. Accessed January 29, 2021.
4. “When will coverage start?” Covered California. Retrieved from https://www.coveredca.com/support/membership/coverage-start/. Accessed February 3, 2021.
5. Covered California. January 28, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.coveredca.com/newsroom/news-releases/2021/01/28/california-joins-president-biden-in-responding-to-covid-19-pandemic-by-announcing-special-enrollment-to-help-people-get-insurance/
6. “Connect for Health Colorado Extends Enrollment Period through at least August 15.” Connect for Health Colorado. March 24, 2021. Retrieved from https://connectforhealthco.com/connect-for-health-colorado-extends-enrollment-period-through-at-least-august-15/
7. “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.” Access Health CT. April 19, 2021. Retrieved from https://help.accesshealthct.com/en_US/885658-american-rescue-plan
8. “Enhanced Subsidies Go into Effect at Your Health Idaho April 1.” Your Health Idaho. March 30, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.yourhealthidaho.org/enhanced-subsidies-go-into-effect-at-your-health-idaho-april-1/
9. “Gov. Hogan Announces Extension of State Health Insurance Special Enrollment Period Until Aug. 15.” Maryland Health Connection. March 26, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.marylandhbe.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-C-SEP-Extension-Press-Release_03262021.pdf
10. “Open Enrollment is happening now through May 23.” Massachusetts Health Connector. Retrieved from https://www.mahealthconnector.org/get-ready-for-open-enrollment
11. “Minnesotans Will See Expanded Tax Credits Through MNsure Beginning Today.” MNSure. April 6, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.mnsure.org/news-room/news/index.jsp#/detail/appId/1/id/475404
12. Nevada Health Link. Retrieved from https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/coronavirus/. Accessed February 25, 2021.
13. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Get Covered NJ. Retrieved from https://nj.gov/getcoverednj/findanswers/faqs/. Accessed April 19, 2021.
14. NY State of Health. March 31, 2021. Retrieved from https://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/news/press-release-ny-state-health-announces-significant-new-tax-credits-are-now-available-lower
15. Pennie. March 26, 2021. Retrieved from https://help.pennie.com/hc/en-us/articles/1500002772722-What-is-Pennie-s-COVID-19-Enrollment-Period
16. Pennie. Retrieved from https://pennie.com/learn/covid19/. Accessed February 4, 2021.
17. Health Source RI. Retrieved from https://healthsourceri.com/oe2020/. Accessed February 3, 2021.
18. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Vermont Health Connect. Retrieved from https://info.healthconnect.vermont.gov/ARPA. Accessed April 12, 2021.
19. “DC Residents Without Health Insurance Can Get Covered Now Through DC Health Link.” DC Health Link. February 1, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.dchealthlink.com/node/3528
20. “Washington Healthplanfinder is extending special enrollment period for Washingtonians seeking health coverage through August 15, 2021.” Washington Health Benefit Exchange. March 31, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.wahbexchange.org/washington-healthplanfinder-is-extending-special-enrollment-period-for-washingtonians-seeking-health-coverage-through-august-15-2021/
21. “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: If I enroll in health coverage or switch my plan, when does it begin?” Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Retrieved from https://www.wahbexchange.org/new-customers/coverage-basics/american-rescue-plan-faqs/. Accessed April 6, 2021.
22. “Special Enrollment Period (SEP).” HealthCare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/special-enrollment-period/
23. “Qualifying Life Event (QLE).” HealthCare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/qualifying-life-event/

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