If you plan to look for coverage in the new Health Insurance Marketplace, you’ll want to keep a couple of key dates in mind.
October 1, 2013 – March 31, 2014 = Open Enrollment in the Marketplace
Open enrollment is the time of the year when people can enroll in plans in the Marketplace. In this first year, open enrollment will last 6 months. You cannot enroll outside of open enrollment unless you have a “qualifying life event”—a change in your life including marriage, divorce, child birth, loss of job-based coverage, and loss of Medicaid or CHIP coverage.
(Note: Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can buy a new plan at any time during the year; open and closed enrollment times apply only to individuals and families who buy directly from insurers in the Marketplace.)
December 15, 2013 – Enrollment Deadline for Coverage Effective January 1
If you enroll any time between October 1, 2013 and December 15, 2013 and make your first premium payment, your new health coverage will start on January 1, 2014.
(During the rest of open enrollment, if you enroll between the 1st and 15th day of the month and pay your premium, your coverage will begin on the first day of the next month. For example, if you enroll on January 12, 2014, your coverage begins February 1, 2014. If you enroll between the 16th and the last day of the month and pay your premium, your coverage will begin on the first day of the second following month. For example, if you enroll on January 17, 2014, your coverage will start on March 1, 2014.)
January 1, 2014 – First Day New Coverage Can Start
January 1, 2014 is the first day coverage sold in the Marketplace will take effect for people who enrolled by December 15, 2013.