2016 Open Enrollment Dates and Deadlines

March 10, 2015

As part of Obamacare, there are now certain times you can purchase guaranteed-issue individual health insurance coverage.

This article outlines key dates and deadlines for getting individual health insurance health coverage during the 2015-2016 annual open enrollment period.

2016 Open Enrollment Dates and Deadlines

  • November 1, 2015: Open enrollment begins for individual health insurance (i.e. Qualified Health Plans). 

  • December 15, 2015: Deadline to apply if you would like coverage to start by January 1, 2016. *Editorial Note: This deadline was extended to December 17, 2015.
  • January 1, 2016: Earliest coverage date for plans purchased during the 2016 open enrollment period.

  • January 15, 2016: Deadline to apply if you would like coverage to start by February 1, 2016.
  • January 31, 2016: Open enrollment ends. If you miss this date, you will have to wait until fall of 2016 to enroll, unless you have a qualifying life event such as a marriage, birth of a child, significant income change, or loss of job-based health insurance. Then, you can enroll during a special enrollment period

  • October 15, 2016 - December 7, 2016: Open enrollment period for 2017 coverage (dates are reviewed annually, and are subject to change). 

Enrollment Period: From:

2016 Open Enrollment Period 

November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016

Special Enrollment Period 

Generally 60 days from qualifying life event

See this updated chart for open enrollment periods, 2015 - 2020.

FAQ: What If I Miss Open Enrollment for an Individual Health Plan?

If you miss open enrollment, you've likely missed your chance to buy coverage for the year -- unless you have a significant change in circumstance called a qualifying life event. There are several types of qualifying life events such as marriage, birth of a child, income change, loss of job-based health insurance, permanent move to a new area, etc.

If you miss the deadline, this also means you'll probably face a penalty for not having insurance (called the Individual Mandate fee).

In 2015, the fee is $325 per person up to a maximum of three times that amount for a family ($975), or 2% of household income if greater. In 2016, the fee increases to 2.5% of your income or $695 per person.

Get the free Small Business HRA eBook

Learn how an HRA works for employers in our latest webinar
Watch the recording today, and learn how an HRA can help your organization.
meeting_wide-1 CTA_purp_R