• Health, Advocacy

Missed the health insurance Open Enrollment deadline? Here’s what you need to know

UPDATED 2/1/19

Did you miss the 1/31 deadline to enroll in health insurance? You may still have some options.

Check with the insurance carriers in your state to see if they are still offering 2019 plans.


No plans available? You may still be eligible if you have a “qualifying life event”

Freelancers who have certain life changes may be eligible to enroll in health insurance outside of Open Enrollment. Here are some common qualifying life events:

  • Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child for adoption. Coverage can take effect the day of the event, and the enrollment window is open up to 60 days afterwards.

  • Getting married. Getting wed can make you eligible for a special enrollment period, which will take effect the first day of the month after you enroll. In this instance, your enrollment window is open for up to 60 days after your marriage (you can’t enroll until getting married!)

  • Losing other health coverage. If you lost your previous coverage after the cutoff, you may be able to qualify for special enrollment. (Losing a health plan due to non-payment of premiums does not qualify as losing health coverage but losing coverage when you leave a job does qualify.)

  • Major income changes. If you lose a huge client and are already enrolled in a health plan, you may re-apply for subsidies or get higher subsidies. Just note that you can’t apply for a new plan or change plans; you can only change your subsidy amount. But you can also become ineligible for subsidies if you made more income than you expected!

  • Moving. You may be eligible for a special enrollment period if you move and your relocation affects your rate because you moved into a different rating region. You may also qualify if your move affects your plan options, for instance if you move out of the service area for one carrier and into the service area for another, or if you move to another state.

In addition to the situations listed above, there are a number of other life events that could qualify you for a special enrollment period. Visit’s list of events to see if you can obtain coverage.

Nathan Bransford Nathan Bransford is the author of "How to Write a Novel" and the "Jacob Wonderbar" series. He blogs about the writing and publishing process at

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