Can I still get health insurance after Obamacare open enrollment ends?

Can I still get health insurance after Obamacare open enrollment ends?

Update: Since this post was first published I have learned of NEW information that dramatically changes what I previously mentioned here. I HATE to make a mistake, especially when my job is to relay the facts. But, I did. I relied on some information a company representative told me and it was wrong. Shame on me. I guess I won’t do that next time. My sincere apologies for relaying incorrect information. That is NEVER my intention with this blog. 


I’ve gotten lots of panicked phone calls lately asking this exact question. So let me assure you absolutely:

Yes, you can still get health insurance after Obamacare open enrollment ends.

BUT…….. you can only get health insurance after March 31 if you have a special enrollment situation. 

It bears repeating- if you call me on April 1 wanting health insurance because you just now got around to it, you’re out of luck. It will not be available. If you call because you changed your mind and think it sounds like a good idea, too bad.

But if you call April 1 and beyond because one of the following has happened, you get a one time only special enrollment opportunity (of course- if you have multiple special enrollment situations, you get multiple opportunities).

Special Enrollment Qualifying Events

  • Losing other health coverage (for example due to a job loss, divorce, loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, expiration of COBRA coverage, or a health plan being decertified). Note: Voluntarily quitting other health coverage or being terminated for not paying your premiums are not considered loss of coverage. Losing coverage that is not minimum essential coverage is also not considered loss of coverage.
  • Change in marital status
  • Change in dependent status (adoption, birth, etc.)
  • Permanently moving to a new area that offers different health plan options
  • For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage, having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for tax credits or cost-sharing reductions

Most special enrollment periods last 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event. Job-based plans generally allow special enrollment periods of 30 days.

The Moral of the Story Here?

If you try to get health insurance after March 31 and you DON’T have a special enrollment, you CAN’T get it. Not even if you beg and plead.

You’ll have to wait until the next open enrollment period which is currently proposed as November 15, 2014 to January 15, 2015.

So sign up before March 31, or you’ll miss your chance! Let’s face it- Obamacare is a confusing mess. Don’t go it alone if you don’t have to. If you’re in Ohio, I can help! Contact me today.

Any questions?

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About Carrie Reynolds

During the day, I'm an Ohio Insurance Goddess, an agent, and a writer. At night, I turn into Supermom. My passions are marketing, writing, and making insurance easier for everyone to understand.

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  • sddonner

    I don`t like my health insurance I signed up for I was misled into beleiveing they would cover my home health lpn nurses for 56 hours a week now I get none with this insurance is it to late to change?

    • carriereynolds

      sddonner- Open enrollment for 2015 ended February 15 2015. There is a special enrollment period running through the end of April, but not because you simply don’t like your plan.

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  • Jason Verlinde

    Carrie your the bomb. Don’t listen to the haters. Let those who never misspoke cast the first stone. Plus any fact you write about Obamacare will most likely be “untrue” within a matter of weeks when the King re-writes the rules on a daily basis!

  • Guest

    Carrie you are simply wrong. Outside of open enrollment you can’t buy health insurance except if you have a special enrollment period. You are no insurance goddess…if you are licensed you are giving very bad information.

    • carriereynolds

      I appreciate everyone’s comments. I have since updated the post with the correct information, with a disclaimer admitting an error. Unfortunately, the information came from one of our company representatives (who should know better) and I relied on that information. Next time I won’t make that mistake. This blog is never about intentionally misleading anyone. It was an honest mistake. And I appreciate constructive comments- the personal insults have no place here. If you can’t keep things on a professional level, then I would prefer you not comment.

  • robink1000

    “Obamacare has NO bearing when health insurance is available for purchase. It’s available year-round- like it’s always been.” This is not an accurate statement. See here:

    • carriereynolds

      robink1000- I stand by my statement, but perhaps my explanation in the post was unclear. Here’s another try: Health insurance is available year-round- but in two different ways- inside the Marketplace and outside the Marketplace. The Marketplace is simply a portal where people who qualifty can get help with reducing premium or out-of-pocket costs.
      If it’s not open enrollment or you don’t qualify for a special enrollment, you buy health insurance outside the Marketplace.
      But health insurance is available to be purchased at any time. Whether it’s in the Marketplace or outside the Marketplace will depend on timing and situation.

      • Patrick Paule

        In Ohio what insurance companies will allow me to buy a plan outside of the marketplace after March 31st? Keeping in mind that I don’t want to have any issues with pre-existing conditions and will want it to cover me immediately without a waiting period.

        • Justin Alexander

          In Ohio you can only buy short term health insurance if you pass underwriting or if you qualify for a special enrollment. Off exchange and on exchange are done after March 31st unless Obama lawlessly pushes it back.

          this author is clueless

        • carriereynolds

          Patrick, I posted a reply below that my original post relied on incorrect information from a company representative. My apologies! In any case, the answer to your question is that NO insurance company will be able to offer you health insurance after March 31 unless you have a qualifying life event that triggers a special enrollment. I included a list of qualifying events in the post. I hope it helps you.

        • E Harris

          Hi Patrick

          Typically, UnitedHealthcare (Golden Rule) has the most competitive rates of all MAJOR carriers that write business here in Ohio. The application consists of about five medical questions and coverage can be bound the next day (and sometimes the same day).

          Pre-existing conditions are not covered and it is not an ACA-compliant plan. But based on available options, it gets you from Point A to Pint B quite cheaply.

          In my 33 years as an Ohio broker, the UHC short-term plan has been popular. I hope this helps!

          Ed H.

      • Quotebroker

        Carrie, think about it. If your clients can enroll year round, what is to stop them from enrolling only when they need coverage and cancelling when they don’t? While there is ample documentation showing 3/31 is the end of all non-SEP enrollment (for now) simple logic dictates this must be the case as well.