When Is the Deadline to Enroll for Health Insurance?

The deadline is approaching for Americans enrolling in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act during 2022. Though enrollment, which began in November, runs until January 15, 2022, to have coverage that begins on January 1, U.S. citizens have to sign up by Wednesday.

Americans who miss this December 15 deadline will not be covered until February 1, while people who fail to sign up by January 15 won't get coverage during 2022. This is unless they qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

The U.S Government's HealthCare.gov website says that to be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, an applicant must have experienced a life event such as a move, a marriage, or the birth of a child. Americans who have lost other coverage can also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Only U.S. citizens and nationals who live in the States and are not currently incarcerated are eligible to get insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, or just Marketplace, created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010.

The federal government runs the Marketplace—often also known as the "exchange"—for individuals and families. On the internet it can be found at HealthCare.gov and applications can be made via the site.

Some states—including California, Idaho, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Washington—run their own Marketplaces on different websites. Information for residents of these states about how and where to apply can be found on the HealthCare.gov website.

The HealthCare.gov website also says that Americans can find in-person help from local people and organizations who can help them apply, pick a plan, and enroll, by searching their city and state or their zip code.

Once an application has been completed, applicants will be told if they qualify for a marketplace insurance plan with savings, such as tax credits to assist with monthly premiums, lower copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles. They can also see if they qualify for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program and get an estimate.

It is not just new applicants affected by these deadlines. Americans who had Marketplace coverage in 2021 and intend to keep their same plan next year must update their application to show any changes to income or to their households. The Healthcare website says this is because they may be able to find a plan that better suits their needs or could actually qualify for further savings.

The News & Observer reports that more people than ever in the United States are eligible for tax credits through the Marketplace to help pay for health insurance.

Additionally, as Newsweek reported in March, thanks to a provision in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden, many Americans that are already enrolled in the Marketplace may qualify for more help towards health insurance.

The Affordable Care Act
(Left) A stock image of paperwork baring the logo of the Affordable Care Act. (Right) A stock image of a doctor with a stethoscope. Americans don't have long to apply for coverage from Marketplace in 2022. zimmytws/ stefanamer/Getty