The Affordable Care Act's (ACA) annual enrollment period will open in a few days for individuals without employer-sponsored health coverage.  Starting Nov. 1, those wishing to change their current plan or insurance carrier, or obtain health coverage, will be able to do so until Dec. 15, 2018. 

Individual plans purchased during this time will be effective on Jan. 1, 2019.  After Dec. 15, individuals will need to experience a qualifying event to apply for coverage prior to the 2020 ACA open enrollment period.

Qualifying events (or special enrollment periods) allow individuals to apply for health coverage outside of open enrollment.  Examples of qualifying life events include:

  • Involuntary loss of coverage through employer plan
  • No longer a dependent
  • Marriage
  • Birth or adoption
  • Permanent move causing current plan to be involuntarily terminated

The special enrollment period generally gives you a 60-day time period in which to apply and obtain coverage on the individual market.