1. The Health Insurance Marketplace: Choosing a Category
  2. Essential Health Benefits for All Plans
  3. Qualifying for Lower Premiums and Out-of-Pocket Expenses
  4. Minimum Essential Coverage & Who Is Exempt
  5. Important Dates to Know

5. Important Dates to Know

There are five important dates to know for the Health Insurance Marketplace:

  • November 1, 2015 – Marketplace open enrollment for 2016 begins.
  • December 15, 2015 – Last day to enroll or change plans for new coverage to start Jan. 1.
  • January 1, 2016 – 2016 coverage starts for those who enroll or change plans by Dec. 15.
  • January 15, 2016 – Last day to enroll or change plans for new coverage to start Feb. 1.
  • January 31, 2016 – Open enrollment ends. Any enrollments or changes made between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31 will take effect March 1.

After open enrollment ends on January 31, 2016, you won’t be able to get Marketplace coverage until the next annual enrollment period unless have a qualifying event, such as a divorce, marriage or baby.

If you qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), you can apply now and your coverage can begin immediately. You can find out if you qualify for either program on the Marketplace website at www.healthcare.gov (use the website search box to search for “Medicaid” and “CHIP”).

The Bottom Line

Most people will be eligible to purchase health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. In order to qualify, you must:

  • Live in the United States
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national
  • Not be currently incarcerated

If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad, you are not required to have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and you won’t have to pay the fee for being without insurance.

To find additional information regarding the new Health Insurance Marketplace, as well as state-specific information and how to apply in your state:


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