When Can I Buy Health Insurance?

Open Enrollment happens once a year, from November 1 to January 31. It is typically the only time you can enroll in coverage unless you have a qualifying life event or meet a certain income level.

Certain life-changing events such as getting married, moving to a new coverage area, or losing job-based health coverage qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Some life events, such as pregnancy, having a baby, or adoption qualify you for an SEP and allow you to enroll in coverage with an earlier effective date. Certain life-changing events also allow consumers to make changes to their current coverage.

A Special Enrollment Period is also available for consumers based on yearly household income. Consumers with an annual income up to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level ($29,160 for an individual or $60,000 for a family of four in 2024) can now qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and can access nearly free health plans throughout the year.

If you qualify for an SEP, you usually have up to 60 days after the event to enroll or change your plan.

(Note: You can enroll in NJ FamilyCare, the state’s publicly funded health insurance program with free or low-cost health coverage, any time of year.)


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What is a life-changing event?

Life-changing events include but are not limited to:
  • Losing health coverage, such as job-based, individual, and student plans
  • Losing eligibility for Medicare, NJ FamilyCare, Medicaid, or CHIP
  • Reaching age 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
Household change and other circumstances:
  • Pregnancy
  • Had a baby, adopted a child, or placed a child for foster care
  • Got married
  • Got divorced or legally separated and lost health insurance
Changes in residence:
  • Moved to New Jersey or a new coverage area within New Jersey
  • Moved to New Jersey from a foreign country or U.S. territory
  • If you're a student, moved to or from the place you attend school
  • Moved to or from a shelter or other transitional housing
Other qualifying events:
  • Changes in your income that affect the coverage you qualify for
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen
  • Leaving incarceration (jail or prison)
  • Exceptional Circumstances (error, natural disaster, medical issue preventing enrollment) - Attestation Form
  • Expanded Access SEP – Having an income up to 200% of FPL, making you eligible for free or nearly free coverage year-round ($29,160 for an individual and $60,000 for a family of four in 2024). Learn more

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