Open Enrollment for 2018 health insurance coverage is here, but some of the deadlines have changed a bit from previous years. If you are looking to purchase a new insurance plan or change the plan you had last year, your Open Enrollment dates for 2018 coverage will depend on the state you live in.
Most states use the federal insurance marketplace (www.healthcare.gov). If you live in a state that uses www.healthcare.gov, Open Enrollment will be November 1-December 15, 2017 for 2018 coverage. Fewer than half U.S. states have their own state-run health insurance marketplaces for individual coverage. These states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Many of these states have extended open enrollment as follows:
• California open enrollment runs Nov 1, 2017 – Jan 31, 2018, but residents should sign up by Dec 15 for coverage to begin Jan 1, 2018.
• Colorado open enrollment runs from Nov 1, 2017 – Jan 12, 2018, but residents should enroll by Dec 15 for coverage starting Jan 1, 2018.
• Connecticut enrollment goes through Dec 22 for coverage for coverage effective Jan 1, 2018.
• District of Columbia open enrollment runs through Jan 31, 2018, but for plans with a start date of Jan 1, residents should enroll by Dec 15.
• Minnesota will supplement open enrollment with a special enrollment from Dec 16 – Jan 14, 2018, but residents should select a plan for 2018 by Dec 20, otherwise coverage will begin Feb 1.
• Massachusetts open enrollment continues through Jan 23, 2018, though in MA, residents can always enroll by the 23rd of any month for insurance effective the first of the following month.
• New York open enrollment runs through Jan 31, 2018, but residents should enroll by Dec 15 for coverage beginning Jan 1, 2018.
• Rhode Island open enrollment runs through Dec 31 for 2018 coverage, but residents should enroll by Dec 23 for uninterrupted 2018 health insurance coverage.
• Washington added an extended enrollment period from Dec 16 – Jan 15, 2018, but residents should sign up by Dec 15 for insurance with a Jan 1 effective date.
• Idaho, Maryland, and Vermont are keeping enrollment deadline as Dec 15, for plans effective Jan 1, 2018.
If you miss the open enrollment period, you may still be able to buy health insurance through your state’s marketplace if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). A special enrollment period is a 60-day period where you can sign up for health insurance outside of the open enrollment period, after experiencing a major life change. Certain life events that qualify as a major life change include: losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. For questions about open enrollment, special enrollment periods, or any other cancer-related legal questions, please submit your questions through www.clrcintake.org.