Obamacare 2018: Who can enroll after Dec. 15?

Jeanine Skowronski


Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski

Former Head of Content at Policygenius

Jeanine Skowronski is the former head of content at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, MSN, CNBC and more.

Published December 14, 2017|2 min read

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Updated on Dec. 15: Healthcare.gov said via Twitter on Friday callers asked to leave a name and phone number on Dec. 15 would be contacted by its representatives after Dec. 15 to enroll them in a 2018 marketplace plan. In other words, if you couldn't get through and left your information, you can enroll after the deadline. The announcement came after the federal marketplace experienced high call volume on the last day of open enrollment.

Healthcare.gov closes Dec. 15, but you might have more time to sign up for a 2018 "Obamacare" plan. Some state-run exchanges extended their open enrollment deadlines. Plus, some Americans are eligible for extensions. Here's a quick guide to who can still shop for health insurance on the exchanges.

State exchanges

The following state exchanges have extended deadlines:

  • Covered California: Open through Jan. 31, 2018

  • Health Colorado: Open through Jan. 12, 2018

  • DC Health Link (District of Columbia): Open through Jan. 31, 2018

  • Massachusetts Health Connector: Open through Jan. 23, 2018

  • MNsure (Minnesota): Open through Jan. 14, 2018

  • New York State of Health: Open through Jan. 31, 2018

  • Health Source RI (Rhode Island): Open through Dec. 31, 2018

  • Washington Healthplanfinder: Open through Jan. 15, 2018

Plus, Nevada sells health insurance plans all year round, with a 90-day window for coverage to go into effect.

Hurricane victims

Medicare enrollees living in areas hardest hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have until Dec. 31 to sign up for coverage. So do federal exchange shoppers who qualified for a special enrollment period (more on this in a minute) between 60 days prior to the state of emergency and Dec. 31, 2017.

The full list of hurricane emergency or disaster areas are available on the Federal Emergency Management Area (FEMA) website, but affected states include:

  • Alabama

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Lousiana

  • Puerto Rico

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

  • U.S. Virgin Islands

Medicaid-eligible Americans

Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) take applications all year round. You can see if you're eligible on Healthcare.gov.

Note: Congress let CHIP expire earlier this year, so the program's future is currently in question.

Anyone who qualifies for special enrollment

Special enrollment periods are available for people who experience a qualifying event. These events include:

  • Loss of health insurance

  • Loss of eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP

  • Change in residence

  • Marriage

  • Divorce

  • Birth, adoption or fostering of a child

  • Becoming a U.S. citizen

  • Leaving incarceration

  • Loss of health insurance due to the death of a person on your marketplace plan

Special enrollment periods generally last 60 days from the qualifying event. You can learn more about them here.

And, if you don't fall into any of these buckets, you can find more on temporary health insurance alternatives here.

Image: Sam Edwards