Yes you can apply now. During the nationwide COVID-19 disaster emergency period, the time limit on marketplace special enrollment periods has been extended.
If you experienced a qualifying event during the emergency period, your special enrollment period (SEP) to sign up for Marketplace coverage will continue until 60 days after the emergency period ends. The COVID-19 disaster declarations took effect on January 20, 2020 and remain in effect until further notice. Check the Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) website for updates.
If your qualifying event was loss of other coverage, healthcare.gov has been updated to make it easier for you to use your SEP to apply for marketplace coverage. Go to healthcare.gov and create an account. When you start your application, you will be asked if you have lost other coverage since January 1, 2020. Once you answer yes, healthcare.gov will let you apply for a SEP. You may be asked for proof of your coverage loss and, if so, you will have 30 days to submit documentation. Meanwhile, you can continue your application for financial assistance and select a marketplace plan.
If you experienced a different qualifying event during the pandemic – for example, if you had a baby since the emergency period began – you can also apply for a SEP to buy a marketplace coverage and get extended time to apply. However, the extension won’t be granted automatically through the application. For qualifying events other than loss of other coverage, you will need to call the marketplace call center (1-800-318-2596) to ask for the extended SEP.
Marketplace websites in other states that do not use healthcare.gov may operate somewhat differently.
Navigators are available to help people through this process. You can find the program closest to you at Find Local Help.