When Can You Enroll in a New Health Insurance Plan?

Do you know the exact date range during which you can enroll in a new comprehensive major medical insurance plan or change your health insurance? The dates that anyone (other than those looking for Medicare coverage) can start or change insurance coverage are from November 1 to December 15.

When you start or change your coverage in this period, your policy will become effective on the first day of the new year. If you think you can find a better insurance plan, make sure you do your homework and send in your enrollment paperwork (whether real papers or online paperwork) before the last minute. You don’t want to have to wait another ten-and-a-half months until you can enroll in a health insurance plan.

What Are Special Enrollment Periods for Health Insurance?

There are several circumstances that enable a person to enroll or change their coverage at other times of the year. These are called Special Enrollment Periods or SEPs.

These circumstances mostly pertain to reasons a person might lose their coverage or that their coverage situation changes. These circumstances include:

  • Loss of employer-provided coverage resulting from death of insured person
  • Loss of coverage due to divorce
  • New condition causing disability
  • Loss of the job that provided the insurance
  • Retirement
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child
  • Reaching 26 years of age so you are no longer included in parent’s insurance
  • Permanent move to a new state

In these circumstances, you can enroll in a health insurance plan at any time, but you must do it promptly after this change of circumstances occurs.

When something happens to cause you to lose your health insurance, you must enroll in a new plan within 60 days of the date of your loss of coverage. For example, if your spouse (through whom you have health insurance) passes away on the first day of March, you have until April 30, to acquire new health insurance.

If you have a baby, you have 60 days after the birth of that baby to enroll in a new health insurance plan that will also cover your baby.

If you miss this sixty-day deadline, you will have to wait until the next open enrollment period to obtain health insurance.

When Is Your Health Insurance Coverage Effective?

As mentioned, when you sign up during the open enrollment period, your coverage becomes active on the first day of the new year. But if you enroll in one of these Special Enrollment Periods, your insurance will begin on the first day of the next month.

Your coverage will never be retroactive. It will only cover you going forward as of the dates just noted. Therefore, it is in your interest to enroll in a new health insurance plan as soon as your old coverage is lost. If you lost your insurance 30 days ago, and need a doctor or emergency hospitalization today, your care today will not be covered if you enroll in a new health insurance plan tomorrow. You can, however, enroll in a new plan today and get care on the first day of the next month.

As you can see, there are lots of regulations involved in health insurance administration. We’ve been helping clients navigate these tricky waters for plenty of years. We can help you, too. If you foresee losing your health insurance, contact us and let’s look at the best coverage we can get for you so you have little or no time without insurance. It’s what we do for our clients every day so we know just how to make this process simple. Call us at (314) 544-5400.

Mike Butz
Mike ButzFounder of MB Health
Mike has been working in the Health & Life insurance fields for the past 25 years. In 2013, he saw the need for a new type of agency, one that could help people navigate the confusing Health Insurance world. From that desire to serve the people, came the founding of MB Health.