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What’s the deadline to get coverage during Obamacare’s open enrollment period?

Open enrollment begins November 1, and ends December 15, with all plans effective January 1, 2019. Here's what you need to know.

When can you buy health insurance for 2019?

2019 open enrollment dates

Open enrollment for ACA-compliant 2019 coverage will run from November 1, 2018 to December 15, 2018 in all states that use HealthCare.gov, and in almost all of the states that run their own exchanges. This enrollment schedule applies both on and off-exchange.

Read our comprehensive overview of Obamacare open enrollment deadlines for 2019 coverage.

Read our extensive list of frequently asked questions about enrollment.

Special enrollment and exceptions

Regardless of whether you purchase insurance through the exchange or off-exchange, the annual Obamacare open enrollment window applies. Nevada is an exception – coverage is available there outside the exchange year-round, albeit without subsidies and with a 90-day waiting period before coverage becomes effective.

Buying coverage outside of open enrollment

But in the rest of the country, you cannot enroll outside of open enrollment unless you have a qualifying event. And the rules for special enrollment periods are stricter than they used to be. In most cases, you’re required to have already had coverage prior to the qualifying event in order to sign up for a new plan as a result of the qualifying event (for example, if you move to a new area, it’s only a qualifying event — allowing you to sign up for a plan in your new area — if you already had coverage in your previous location). The restrictions on special enrollment periods make it more important than ever for people to sign up during open enrollment, when those restrictions don’t apply.

What happens if you don’t buy during open enrollment?