In general, you can only enroll in non-group health plan coverage during the Open Enrollment period.
However, in 2021, HealthCare.gov and all state-run Marketplaces have extended the enrollment period to make it easier for people to sign up for coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this extended enrollment period, uninsured people can sign up, and (in HealthCare.gov states and some state marketplaces) people already enrolled in the Marketplace have an opportunity to change plans. Even though this extended COVID enrollment period is sometimes referred to as a “special” enrollment period, you do not need to have a qualifying event (such as loss of other health coverage) to sign up during this time.
Dates for the extended COVID enrollment period are as follows:
HealthCare.gov states February 15 – August 15, 2021
California February 1 – May 15, 2021
Colorado February 8 – May 15, 2021
Connecticut February 15 – April 15, 2021
District of Columbia February 1 – end of pandemic
Idaho March 1 – March 31, 2021
Maryland February 1 – August 15, 2021
Massachusetts February 1 – July 23, 2021
Minnesota February 16 – May 17, 2021
Nevada February 15 – May 15, 2021
New Jersey February 1 – May 15, 2021
New York February 1 – May 15, 2021
Pennsylvania February 15 – May 15, 2021
Rhode Island February 1 – May 15, 2021
Vermont February 16 – May 14, 2021
Washington February 15 – May 15, 2021
Once the extended COVID enrollment period ends, individuals and families will not be able to enroll in Marketplace health plans until the next Open Enrollment period. However, if you experience certain changes in circumstances during the year, you will have a special 60-day opportunity to enroll in Marketplace health plans, outside of the Open Enrollment period.
The extended COVID enrollment period does not apply to plans sold outside of the Marketplace in HealthCare.gov states.
American Indians and Alaska Natives can enroll in Marketplace coverage throughout the year, not just during Open Enrollment.