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Dates to Know for the Health Insurance Marketplace

There are 3 key dates you’ll want to mark on your calendar:

November 1, 2015: Marketplace open enrollment begins
January 1, 2016: Health coverage can start
January 31, 2016: Open enrollment ends

Use the timeline of the health care law to learn more about what’s changing and find out how the law protects you.

Applying for Coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period

If you are applying for coverage outside of the Open Enrollment Period, you may need to qualify for a Special Enrollment or Qualifying Life Event.

You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time

The Marketplace will tell you whether you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, your coverage can begin immediately. You can also apply for either of these programs right now, before open enrollment begins. Follow the the links above to learn more.

Small employers can start SHOP coverage any time

Small employers generally may start offering health insurance coverage to their employees through the SHOP Marketplace at any time during the year.

November 1, 2015: Marketplace open enrollment begins

Open enrollment begins on November 1, 2015. You can compare and select from private health insurance plans in the new Marketplace. You’ll learn if you can get lower costs on your insurance before you enroll in a plan.

You’ll also learn if you qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). (You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP right now).

After reviewing your options, you can choose a plan that fits your needs and budget and enroll.

January 1, 2016: Health coverage can start

If you enroll in a private health insurance plan any time between November 1, 2015 and December 15, 2015 and make your first premium payment for your new health coverage to start as early as January 1, 2016.

During the rest of open enrollment, if you enroll between the 1st and 15th day of the month and pay your premium, your coverage begins the first day of the next month. So if you enroll on January 10, 2016, your coverage begins February 1, 2016.

If you enroll between the 16th and the last day of the month and pay your premium, your effective date of coverage will be the first day of the second following month. So if you enroll on January 16, 2016, your coverage begins March 1, 2016.

January 31, 2016: Open enrollment ends

Open enrollment for 2016 health insurance coverage closes on January 31, 2016. Be sure to visit the Marketplace and enroll in a plan before this date.

After January 31, 2016, you can get new private health insurance for 2016 only through a special enrollment period if you have a qualifying life event like a job loss, birth, or divorce.

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