The open enrollment to buy major medical insurance — aka marketplace coverage — runs from November 1st through December 15th this year. It’s a deadline that’s set by the federal government and applies to every state that participates in the federal exchange at Healthcare.gov.
But if you’re in a state that runs its own health insurance exchange, you may have a different deadline to buy health insurance for next year.
That’s because states with their own marketplaces can set their own rules for open enrollment. And some have. As of the time of this post, 10 states and the District of Columbia have extended enrollment periods.
If you live in one of these places, you have extra time to find health insurance for 2021:
Four other states have their own exchanges as well: Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland and Vermont. To date, these states follow the national open enrollment deadline of December 15th.
And even in states with extended deadlines, the deadline to get coverage that starts on January 1st is usually December 15th.
If you enroll after that, you may have to wait until February for coverage to take effect.
Some states also have individual state mandates that require you to have health insurance or pay a penalty. You can read more about that here.
Important note, though: don’t wait until the last minute to sign up for health insurance.
Even if your state gives you extra time beyond the federal December 15th deadline, now’s the best time to shop for coverage. Review what you have and make sure it still fits what you need for next year.