Prepare to Buy Health Insurance: Key Dates to Know

With the turning of the leaves and the competition heating up in football season, you need to prepare to buy health insurance  during the next annual Open Enrollment Period! Open Enrollment is the time when you can apply for a new health plan for the first time, keep your current plan or pick a new one different from the plan you have.

To buy health insurance outside of Open Enrollment, you have to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period  due to certain life events like marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or 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.

If you don’t buy health insurance:

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


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