Q: If my coverage ends on December 31st, can I be confident that my new coverage will be in force if I enroll by December 15?
A: Yes. As long as your application is completed by December 15 and you pay your first premium by the due date set by your health insurance carrier, your coverage will be in effect January 1.
There are three states – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington – where enrollments can be completed through the state-run exchanges as late as the 23rd of the month and still have coverage effective the first of the following month. So in those states, you can enroll as late as December 23 for a January 1 effective date.
When the exchanges were in their infancy, it was common to see extensions to the December enrollment deadline for a January 1 effective date. But the open enrollment period for 2017 coverage will be round four, and everything was already relatively smooth by round three. So enrollees shouldn’t expect much in the way of extensions to the enrollment deadline for coverage to be effective January 1, 2017. In all but the three states mentioned above, the deadline will be December 15, 2016.