The open enrollment period for Obamacare health insurance in 2018 starts on November 1, 2017 and ends on December 15, 2017.
Critical deadlines are:
- November 1, 2017: Open Enrollment begins. Apply for new coverage. Coverage will begin on January 1, 2018.
- December 15, 2017: Deadline to enroll in a new health insurance plan for the 2018 calendar year. Coverage will begin on January 1, 2018.
If you miss this window you cannot enroll until the Marketplace re-opens in November 2018 unless you have a special “life event” such as having a baby, getting married or losing your coverage through your employer. This is designed to prevent people from taking advantage of the system by enrolling and dropping insurance multiple times a year when they only get sick.
If you don’t enroll in an Obamacare plan in 2017, you may be fined 2.5% of your income or $695 per adult, whichever is higher.
Individuals and children who earn less than 100% ($24,300 for a family of 4 in 2017) or 133% ($32,300 for a family of 4 in 2017) of the federal poverty line, depending on the state that they live in, can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time. There is no enrollment period for these programs, but there are income restrictions and other qualifiers.
Coverage start dates
If you don’t enroll in a health insurance plan during the 2018 open enrollment period, you won’t be able to enroll again during the 2018 calendar year unless you experience a special event that would start a special enrollment period. Examples of these “special events” or qualified life events as they are also called, are: you move to a new state and your coverage isn’t offered there, you lose your plan through your job and need to buy your own insurance, you were previously on your parent’s health insurance policy but are now too old to be on it (26 years old or older), you got married or divorced or you had a baby.