First Things First. What Is Open Enrollment?
Open Enrollment is a window of time the federal government established during which citizens can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan that meets the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements. The second ACA Open Enrollment period began November 15, 2014, and ends February 15, 2015. Coverage begins January 1, 2015, for individuals who sign up before December 15.
If you do not enroll by February 15, the federal government may penalize you $325 or 2 percent of your income, whichever is greater, for not having health insurance coverage. (Read more about the penalty.)
You can only sign up for health insurance outside of Open Enrollment if you experience a Qualifying Life Event. These events include getting married or divorced, having a baby, losing your job and moving. Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs).
If you do not qualify for an SEP and need coverage prior to January 1, you can get temporary coverage with a short-term health plan.