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California Special Enrollment Rules for Obamacare

What Happens If I Missed the California Obamacare Enrollment Deadline for 2021?

If you miss the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) deadline in California, you may still be able to get covered.

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Updated: 2021-01-28 by

In most states, open enrollment has closed for 2021 health plans. After open enrollment ends, you won't be able to use Covered California to purchase a health insurance plan unless you qualify for an exception, called a "special enrollment period."

COVID-19 Special Enrollment Periods

This year, a significant exception exists for many people. The Biden administration has announced a special enrollment period due to the COVID pandemic. It opens a three-month window from February 15 to May 15, 2021, for those using the federal health exchange to get covered. Many state-run exchanges are doing the same. To learn more about COVID special enrollment in your state, see How To Sign Up for Obamacare in California.

You Can Still Enroll If You Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period

Certain life events make you eligible to sign up for health insurance outside of open enrollment. The circumstances under which you may qualify for special enrollment include:

  • moving to a new state
  • having a baby or adopting a child
  • getting married or divorced
  • leaving a job and losing your insurance
  • losing coverage under your parents’ plan
  • losing coverage because someone on your plan has died
  • losing other types of health insurance
  • gaining status as a member of an Indian tribe
  • becoming an American citizen, or
  • getting out of prison.

If you already have health insurance coverage through the marketplace, you may also qualify for a special enrollment period if you experience a change in income or household status that affects your eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions

To learn more, visit Covered California.

Enrollment Never Closes for Medicaid 

Medicaid is administered by states for low-income families and individuals, people with disabilities, and some other adults. You can apply for Medicaid through California's health insurance marketplace or by contacting California’s Medicaid office

You Can Buy Insurance Directly From an Insurance Company or Agent at Any Time

If you buy coverage outside of the health insurance marketplace, your coverage will take effect soon after you pay your first premium, but you won’t qualify for the premium subsidies available through your state’s health insurance exchange.

Find an agent. To find help in your area, go to Find Local Help at HealthCare.gov. There, you enter your city and state or zip code to get a list of insurance agents and brokers near you.

Talk to a licensed broker. To directly connect with a California insurance broker who can help you evaluate insurance plans and choose a plan that's appropriate for your situation, call 800-943-6832. (Please note that we receive advertising income from the licensed brokers who offer their services through this telephone number.)

You Can Buy a Health Plan From Covered California During the Next Open Enrollment Period

California Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) open enrollment for 2022 begins in the fall of 2021.

 

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California: Law