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 major life event.

As part of the state’s overall response to the coronavirus pandemic, New Jersey opened a new COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period for all eligible New Jerseyans to enroll in a health plan through the end of 2021. All eligible residents can enroll now, and coverage will start on the first day of the month following your plan selection.

Certain life-changing events such as pregnancy, having a baby, or adoption also qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period (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.

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.)


Want to enroll in coverage through the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period or through a Special Enrollment Period? GET STARTED

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, 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 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

Note: You do not need to submit documentation to enroll or change your plan through the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period. Additionally, no one enrolling through the COVID-19 SEP needs to be directly affected by the coronavirus. If you qualify for another SEP, you may be asked to send documentation to confirm the events that qualify you. You must send the papers before you can start using your coverage. Your coverage start date is based on when you choose a plan. You cannot use your coverage until you pay your first premium.

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