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When can I enroll in private health plan coverage through the Marketplace?

In general, you can only enroll in non-group health plan coverage during the Open Enrollment period.

For 2018 coverage, the Open Enrollment period in states begins November 1, 2017 and extends through December 15, 2017. Importantly, this Open Enrollment period is much shorter than in prior years.  If you plan to sign up, be sure to complete your application and select your plan before 11:59 pm on December 15, 2017.

Once the Open Enrollment period is over, 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.

For individuals and families buying non-group coverage on their own, outside of the Marketplace, you can only enroll in coverage during Open Enrollment periods and special enrollment opportunities, as well.

American Indians and Alaska Natives can enroll in Marketplace coverage throughout the year, not just during Open Enrollment.

Several state-run Marketplaces have announced they will hold longer Open Enrollment periods to sign up for 2018 coverage.  These include California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.  Check with your state-run marketplace for more information.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.