Each year, the federal government sets open enrollment dates to sign up for health insurance as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare). This is the one time a year when people throughout the country can sign up for, change or renew their coverage for the following year. Open to anyone who needs health insurance, specifically those who can’t get insurance through work, the open enrollment period serves as a chance to review your coverage and make sure you’re getting the best deal for your healthcare needs. This year, the Trump administration shortened open enrollment 2018 to just 45 days, running from November 1 through December 15.
These dates apply nationwide, but some states have opted to expand enrollment. These states are ones that have created their own exchanges apart from the federal one at HealthCare.gov. Eleven states plus the District of Columbia opted to create their own Obamacare marketplaces, and of those, nine have chosen to extend open enrollment deadlines for 2018. If you live in one of the following states, then you’ll follow your state’s guidelines for enrollment.
|Location||Open Enrollment Deadline|
|District of Columbia||January 31|
|New York||January 31|
|Rhode Island||December 31|
Three additional states have state-based exchanges: Idaho, Maryland and Vermont. In Idaho, residents have until the federal deadline of December 15 to submit an application but an additional week (until December 22) to choose a health plan as long as they’ve met the federal deadline for application. Residents of Maryland and Vermont will follow the federal schedule. No matter where you live, open enrollment for 2018 health insurance starts on November 1.