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 May 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 sign up February 15, your coverage would be effective March 1.1

States Federal Special Enrollment Period for 20212
Alabama February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Alaska February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Arizona February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Arkansas February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Connecticut February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Delaware February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Florida February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Georgia February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Hawaii February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Idaho February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Illinois February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Indiana February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Iowa February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Kansas February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Kentucky February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Louisiana February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Maine February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Michigan February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Mississippi February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Missouri February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Montana February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Nebraska February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Nevada February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
New Hampshire February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
New Mexico February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
North Carolina February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
North Dakota February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Ohio February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Oklahoma February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Oregon February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
South Carolina February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
South Dakota February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Tennessee February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Texas February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Utah February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Virginia February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
West Virginia February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Wisconsin February 15, 2021 – May 15, 2021
Wyoming February 15, 2021 – May 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 March 1, 2021
Effective Date
April 1, 2021
Effective Date
May 1, 2021
Effective Date
June 1, 2021
Effective Date
California3,4 February 28, 2021 March 31, 2021 April 30, 2021 May 15, 20215
Colorado6 February 28, 2021 March 31, 2021  April 30, 2021 May 15, 2021
Maryland7 January 15, 2021
Massachusetts8 February 28, 2021 March 23, 2021
Minnesota9 February 28, 2021 March 31, 2021  April 30, 2021 May 17, 2021
New York10 February 15, 2021 March 15, 2021  March 31, 2021
New Jersey11 February 28, 2021 March 31, 2021  April 30, 2021 May 15, 2021
Pennsylvania12,13 February 28, 2021 March 31, 2021  April 30, 2021 May 15, 2021
Rhode Island14 February 23, 2021 March 23, 2021  April 23, 2021 May 15, 2021
Washington DC15 February 28, 2021/March 31, 2021 March 31, 2021/April 30, 2021 April 20, 2021/May31, 2021*
Open Enrollment 2021 has ended in Nevada,16 Vermont, and Washington.17 *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 1.15

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.17 Qualifying life events can include:18

  • 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 2022.17

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 2021.17

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 in response to the COVID-19 Emergency.” Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). January 28, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2021-special-enrollment-period-response-covid-19-emergency
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. “Colorado to Re-open Enrollment for Individual Health Insurance.” Connect for Health Colorado. January 28, 2021. Retrieved from https://connectforhealthco.com/colorado-to-re-open-enrollment-for-individual-health-insurance/
7. Maryland Health Connection. Retrieved from https://www.marylandhealthconnection.gov/coronavirus-sep/
8. “Open Enrollment is happening now through May 23.” Massachusetts Health Connector. Retrieved from https://www.mahealthconnector.org/get-ready-for-open-enrollment
9. “MNsure, Minnesota’s Health Insurance Marketplace, to Open Three-Month Special Enrollment Period.” MNSure. February 3 15, 2021. Retrieved from https://www.mnsure.org/news-room/news/index.jsp#/detail/appId/1/id/467109
10. NY State of Health. January 21, 2021. Retrieved from https://info.nystateofhealth.ny.gov/news/press-release-governor-cuomo-press-release-part-new-york%E2%80%99s-ongoing-response-covid-19-pandemic
11. Get Covered NJ. Retrieved from https://nj.gov/getcoverednj/findanswers/covid19/index.shtml. Accessed February 3, 2021.
12. Pennie. February 3, 2021. Retrieved from https://agency.pennie.com/oe-stats-covidsep/
13. Pennie. Retrieved from https://pennie.com/learn/covid19/. Accessed February 4, 2021.
14. Health Source RI. Retrieved from https://healthsourceri.com/oe2020/. Accessed February 3, 2021.
15. “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
16. “What is Open Enrollment?” Nevada Health Link. Retrieved from https://www.nevadahealthlink.com/start-here/how-to-enroll/open-enrollment/. Accessed February 3, 2021.
17. “Individual and family health plans & premiums.” Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Retrieved from https://www.insurance.wa.gov/individual-and-family-health-plans-premiums. Accessed February 4, 2021.
18. “Special Enrollment Period (SEP).” HealthCare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/special-enrollment-period/
19. “Qualifying Life Event (QLE).” HealthCare.gov. Retrieved from https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/qualifying-life-event/

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