December 15 was the official deadline for open enrollment, during which we hope you selected a health insurance plan for January 1 coverage in 2020. But what if you didn’t?
The good news
New York and California have extended their deadlines to January 31. If you live in either of these states, you still have time to choose or change your health plan:
Not in NY or CA?
You may still be eligible to enroll in a health plan if you have a “qualifying life event.” These include:
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. Marriage 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 big day.
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.)
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.
See healthcare.gov’s list of additional life events that could qualify you for a special enrollment period.