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Small Business Employee Benefits and HR Blog

Open Enrollment Has Closed for Individual Coverage - Now What?

The Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period for qualified individual health plans has come to a close. Now that March 31st has passed, what does that mean for getting coverage in 2014?open enrollment has closed - now what?

Open Enrollment Has Closed - Now What?

As of April 1, 2014, the period during which individuals can enroll in an individual health insurance plan has closed.

Open enrollment began on October 1, 2013, allowing individuals to purchase guaranteed-issue health insurance plans. These plans could be purchased through the newly created exchanges or directly from brokers or carriers.

Special Enrollment Periods

If you’ve missed the open enrollment period, you might still be able to apply for individual health insurance coverage - if you qualify for a special enrollment period. Special enrollment periods were created to allow for changes to insurance plans to be made under certain conditions. Special enrollment periods last up to 60 days after a qualifying event.

The most common qualifying events are:

  • Loss of essential health coverage for you or one of your dependents (employer cancels group plan, you lose access to an employer sponsored plan, etc...)

  • Change in family structure (marriage, birth, death, adoption, etc.)

  • Change in citizenship status

  • Government error

  • Change in premium subsidy eligibility

  • Move to a new coverage area

When is the next open enrollment period?

According to HHS, the open enrollment period for 2015 will begin on November 15, 2014 and will end on February 15, 2015. Open enrollment periods are scheduled for this same period each year.

Here's a summary of the enrollment period dates and deadlines.

Enrollment Period:

From:

Initial Open Enrollment (for coverage in 2014)

October 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014

Annual Open Enrollment (for coverage in 2015)

November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015

Special Enrollment Period (after a qualifying event)

Generally 60 days from qualifying life event

The Comprehensive Guide to the Small Business HRA