Open enrollment under the ACA – when individuals can buy or switch health insurance plans in the marketplace – is typically limited to a specific time period during the year, unless there are certain special circumstances.
People who lose their job and with it their employer-sponsored insurance, as well as those in other special circumstances, may be allowed to enroll outside of the open enrollment period. If you anticipate a coverage loss, you can apply for special enrollment in the ACA up to 60 days in advance.
In response to COVID-19 in the U.S., a number of states have opened enrollment to allow people to purchase insurance through the health insurance marketplaces outside of the typical open enrollment period.
Use this locator to find your state’s marketplace website for more information.
Those with low to moderate incomes may qualify for federal subsidies to buy a new plan through the marketplace. In some cases, you may pay no premium at all.
Additionally, some people may become newly eligible for Medicaid. Eligibility is typically determined based on monthly income, so people completely out of work or losing hours may newly qualify. Enrollment in Medicaid, if eligible, is ongoing throughout the year.
Plans purchased through the ACA marketplace cannot terminate or deny coverage or charge you more due to health status, including diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19 or HIV. Click here for 3 things to know about COVID-19 and your marketplace coverage.