When Does Open Enrollment Begin And End?

Healthcare open enrollment for coverage in 2023 started on November 1st, 2022 and will run until January 15, 2023 in most states. During open enrollment, you can purchase or switch to a new health insurance plan.

If you miss open enrollment, purchasing healthcare coverage is still possible if you experience a qualifying life event, like getting married or moving to a new address. Otherwise, you may have to wait until the next open enrollment period or explore short-term health insurance.

What Is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is an annual period, starting in the fall, when consumers can purchase or change health insurance plans. Enrollment start and end dates can vary by state but usually run from November 1 to January 15. If you don’t buy health insurance during the open enrollment period, it’s possible to purchase it later if you experience a qualifying life event, like getting married or having a child (more on this later).

Why Does the Open Enrollment Period Exist?

Enforcing an open enrollment period encourages consumers to maintain continuous coverage instead of waiting to buy health insurance only when they’re sick. If consumers wait until they need the coverage, the insurance company may have insufficient funds to cover medical costs for those with severe health-related issues. The cost of health insurance is made affordable when it’s shared among all policyholders and the insurance company. The premiums paid by healthcare members help to offset costs for those with additional health concerns.

Health insurance enrollment start and end dates can vary by state but usually run from November 1 to January 15.

How Often Do Open Enrollment Periods Typically Occur?

The open enrollment period for health insurance plans purchased through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace — also called Obamacare — runs once per year, starting in the fall. Open enrollment in most states will start on November 1st, 2022 and end on January 15, 2023.

General open enrollment for Medicare begins October 15th and goes through December 7th every year, with coverage beginning January 1st. Medicare Advantage has a separate enrollment window, which stretches from January 1 to March 31.

When Is Open Enrollment: State-by-State Guide

Open enrollment runs from November 1, 2022 to January 15, 2023 in the majority of states. Consumers living in one of the below states or the District of Columbia will have different enrollment windows.

Open Enrollment for 2023 by State

California

November 1, 2022 through January 31, 2023

Connecticut

November 1, 2022 through December 15, 2022

District of Columbia

November 1, 2022 through January 31, 2023

Idaho

October 15, 2022 through December 15, 2022

Kentucky

November 1, 2022 through December 15, 2022

Maryland

November 1, 2022 through December 15, 2022

Massachusetts

November 1, 2022 through January 23, 2023

Minnesota

October 27, 2022 through November 16, 2022

Nevada

November 1, 2022 through January 15, 2023.

Enroll by December 31, 2022 for coverage to begin January 1, 2023 

New Jersey

November 1, 2022 through January 31, 2023

New York

November 16, 2022 through January 31, 2023

Pennsylvania

November 1, 2022 through December 15, 2022 for coverage starting January 1, 2023

January 15, 2023 for coverage starting February 1, 2023

Rhode Island

November 1, 2022 through January 31, 2023

All other states

November 1, 2022 through January 15, 2023

If you miss open enrollment, you'll have to wait another year to buy health insurance, unless you experience a qualifying life event.

How Does Open Enrollment Work?

During open enrollment, consumers can shop around and purchase health insurance on their state’s health insurance marketplace. You can switch providers if you don’t like your current plan during this time, as well. Once you choose a new plan, you can pay for your first month’s premium and your coverage will begin on the plan’s specified start date.

If you fail to get insurance during open enrollment, you may still buy coverage during a special enrollment period (see next section). Otherwise, you can explore short-term health insurance if it’s available in your area, which should provide coverage until you purchase a plan during the next open enrollment period.

Open Enrollment for Individual Healthcare Insurance

What Happens if I Miss Open Enrollment?

If you miss open enrollment, you can wait to sign up during a special enrollment period. Depending on your state, you may face penalties for not having healthcare coverage.

Pay a Fine for Not Having Health Insurance

A penalty for going through the year without health insurance no longer exists at the federal level but it may apply in certain states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. The penalty will vary by state and can range from $276 to $850 and up.

Enroll During a Special Enrollment Period

Experiencing certain “life events'' can trigger a special enrollment period, which allows you to purchase health insurance outside the open enrollment period. This special period typically lasts from 60 days before to 60 days after the life event but it can sometimes vary. Below are common examples of qualifying events that would initiate the special enrollment period:

  • Loss of health coverage
  • Having or adopting a child
  • Moving to a new residence
  • Changes in your income that affect the coverage you qualify for
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen
  • Leaving jail or prison
  • AmeriCorps members starting or ending their service
  • Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder

Look Into Short-Term Health Insurance

If you do not qualify for a special enrollment period, short-term health insurance can provide temporary coverage until you can buy a plan during the next open enrollment period. Depending on the company or state, you can buy short-term plans with terms of up to 12 months.

A penalty for not having health insurance applies in Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.

Can I Make Changes Outside Open Enrollment?

You can make changes to your healthcare plan, including changing your network or dropping your policy, outside of the open enrollment period if you meet one of the same qualifying life events that allow you to enroll during the special enrollment period. Otherwise, you will need to keep your current coverage until the next open enrollment period.

If you purchased an ACA marketplace health plan, you can generally cancel it at any time without penalty. However, you cannot purchase another ACA health insurance plan until the next open enrollment or have a qualifying life event.

What Types of Health Insurance Use Open Enrollment?

Any plan sold through the ACA marketplace is purchasable during the open enrollment period. All private health plans are purchased during the open enrollment period, too. However, some health plans can be purchased year-round. For example, consumers who qualify for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can buy coverage at any time during the year.

Open Enrollment for Individual Healthcare Insurance

How Do I Maximize the Open Enrollment Period?

To make the most of your open enrollment period, always evaluate insurance companies based on their ability to meet your coverage needs at a price you can afford.

Consider Possible Healthcare Needs for the Next Year

Your healthcare needs will play a large part in what to look for when shopping for health insurance. Take some time and think about your health situation and illnesses that run in your family. Things like medication costs and the possibility of starting a family are all factors when choosing a healthcare plan. See if, perhaps, a more expensive plan may be more cost effective over the course of the year.

Check if Your Current Provider is Within the Network

If you like your current doctor but want to switch to a cheaper plan, first check to see if they are an in-network provider. If you switch plans but they’re not listed, you will likely have to pay out of pocket if you continue visiting them.

Balance Your Deductible Against Your Monthly Premium

Consider your healthcare needs when choosing your premium and deductible. Bronze and silver plans will have lower premiums and higher deductibles. Gold and platinum will have lower deductibles and higher premiums.

If you foresee very few doctor visits in the following year, consider a bronze plan with a high deductible and lower monthly premiums. If you think you’ll use medical services frequently, a gold or platinum plan with a low deductible and higher monthly premiums can help you save on your out-of-pocket costs. Most Americans buy the silver tier plans.

Explore Plan Differences

Health maintenance organization (HMO) and exclusive provider organization (EPO) plans tend to be more cost-effective but will exclude coverage from out-of-network providers. A preferred provider organization (PPO) may be more expensive but will cover out-of-network care and doesn’t usually require a referral to see a specialist. What you pay for out-of-network care under a PPO will likely still be more than in-network care.

Each plan type has its merits and drawbacks. The right plan will consider your preference for out-of-network restrictions, budget and need for specialized care.

If you miss open enrollment and have no qualifying event, short-term health insurance can provide temporary coverage until November 2023.

FAQs

What is a qualifying life event?

A qualifying life event is a situation that allows you to purchase health insurance outside open enrollment. A change in marital status, having a child, losing a job (and health plan) or becoming a U.S. citizen are examples of qualifying life events.

Is there open enrollment for dental and vision insurance?

You can purchase standalone dental and vision plans year-round. However, most health plans that bundle dental and vision coverage must be purchased during open enrollment or a special enrollment period.

Is there an open enrollment period for Medicare or Medicaid?

Medicare has a general open enrollment period that runs from October 15th through December 7th every year. Qualified applicants can enroll in Medicaid year-round.

Key Takeaways

  • Most states hold open enrollment from November 1, 2022 to January 15, 2023.
  • Annual enrollment periods are different for Medicare (October 15th to December 7th) and Medicare Advantage (January 1 and March 31).
  • Qualified applicants can enroll in Medicaid year or the Children’s Health Insurance Program year-round.
  • Qualifying events, like getting married or moving to a new address, will trigger a special enrollment period and allow you to purchase health insurance outside of the open enrollment period.
  • Some states enforce a fine on consumers who go through the year without health insurance coverage.

During open enrollment, buy affordable health insurance. Going through the year without coverage will leave you on the hook for the complete bill when you receive medical services and can lead to medical bankruptcy. Enter your zip code below or call 855.214.2291 to compare multiple companies and receive free health insurance quotes in minutes.

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