News Seth Stratton | 5 years ago

When’s That Due? Your Need to Know Deadlines for Open Enrollment on the Marketplace

Hear that? The sound of calendars flipping and calculators buzzing? It’s the sound of health insurance season starting! That’s right: Open Enrollment, your yearly chance to buy a health insurance plan on the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace, is here.

The first step in getting the health coverage you need? Knowing your sign-up deadlines. If you miss them, here’s what could happen:
  • After the end of Open Enrollment, you won’t be able to get coverage for 2017, unless you have had a “qualifying life event”, like losing health coverage, getting married or having a baby
  • You may have to pay a penalty for not having a health plan
Yep. When it comes to signing up for health insurance, it pays (real, actual money) to stay on top of your deadlines. Make sure to mark these key dates on your calendar so you don’t forget:
  • November 1: Open Enrollment starts. This is the first day you can sign up for a 2017 health insurance plan on the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace (also known as
  • December 15: Last day to change your health insurance plan or sign up for a new plan and have it take effect on January 1, 2017.
  • December 31: Coverage ends for 2016 health insurance plans.
  • January 1: Last day to make your first premium payment for coverage to begin on January 1, 2017.
  • January 31: Open Enrollment ends. This is the last day to sign up for a 2017 individual health insurance plan on the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace. If you don’t sign up for a plan by this date, you may have to pay a penalty. Enrollment or changes between January 16 and January 31 will not take effect until March 1, 2017.
IMPORTANT: If you are currently a member of an individual Marketplace health insurance plan that will not be sold in NC or SC in 2017 (for example, Aetna Leap-Carolinas HealthCare System or UnitedHealthcare Compass), you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Learn more. Need help finding the right plan for you? Get more information here.