What is Open Enrollment?

Learn about when open enrollment for health insurance plans starts.

Published September 11, 2019

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What you need to know

For people who do not have employer-provided health insurance, Open Enrollment is the period every year where you can shop for and purchase health insurance on the state, federal, or private marketplaces. Open Enrollment for 2020 starts on November 1, 2019 and ends on December 15, 2019.

You cannot purchase health insurance outside of Open Enrollment unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you changed jobs, got married or divorced, had a child, moved your residence, or turned 26.

The Open Enrollment Period and Special Enrollment Periods exist in order to enforce the health insurance mandate. Because health insurance companies must cover people regardless of preexisting medical conditions, the Affordable Care Act mandates that everyone, even if they are healthy, buy health insurance. Premiums from healthier customers who do not frequently use health services help offset the cost of covering individuals who do frequently use health services.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.