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    A Simple Guide to ACA Open Enrollment [By State]

    10 mins

    A Simple Guide to ACA Open Enrollment [By State]

    If you’re still unsure how ACA open enrollment works and what steps you should take to get insured, you’re not alone. The healthcare marketplace can seem like a tangled web with different states posting different enrollment periods and options for coverage. 

    The good news is, you don’t have to understand what every state is doing or how the entire system works. You only have to navigate the exchange within your state of residency where you are applying for healthcare coverage.

    What Does ACA Open Enrollment Mean?

    Open enrollment simply refers to the time periods when you can apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, passed into law in 2010. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those periods have been—and are being—modified in every state. Unemployment, illness, and other circumstances related to COVID-19 have left many Americans without employer-provided health insurance or the means to pay for insurance on the private market. 

    It should be noted that the deadlines included below with each state reflect the official enrollment cut-off dates. Federal or state governments may decide to extend deadlines again. Check the website provided for your state for more information.

    Exceptions to Enrollment Deadlines

    Under normal circumstances, you can only enroll for healthcare insurance in your state’s marketplace during the designated annual enrollment period. If you missed the sign-up period you would have to wait until the next year to enroll. However, even under non-pandemic conditions, there are exceptions to the rule:

    • Leaving incarceration

    • Became a U.S. citizen

    • Beginning or ending service as a VISTA, NCCC, or AmeriCorps State and National member

    • Your state has extended the enrollment period for any reason

    • You can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at any time

    • You may be eligible for the Special Enrollment Period if you’ve experienced a qualifying life event such as moving, losing other health coverage, or having a child

    To find out if you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period, visit your state’s marketplace website listed below.

    Does My State have a Marketplace or an Exchange?

    There are several different terms used to refer to the Healthcare Marketplace. 

    ACA, Obamacare, healthcare marketplace, healthcare exchange, and sometimes healthcare partnership exchange are all used to describe the same thing—the program through which you apply for Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance. The name does not matter, but whether your state created its own program or is using the federally run program does matter.

    The type of healthcare marketplace your state maintains can affect the subsidies, variety of insurance policies, prices, and enrollment periods available to you. There are four basic types of healthcare marketplaces.

    1. A state-based or state-run marketplace (SBM) that uses its own state-managed website for enrollment. Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia are SBMs.

    2. A state-based marketplace that runs its own health insurance program but uses the federal enrollment platform (SBM-FP). Six states are currently SBM-FPs.

    3. A partnership exchange is a hybrid in which a state manages only some functions of the insurance program and relies on the Federal Healthcare Marketplace for everything else. For example, the state might maintain its own hotline to answer questions and provide customer service. Six states maintain a partnership marketplace.

    4. Federally-run marketplace. The majority of U.S. states rely solely on the Federal Healthcare Marketplace and do not manage their own ACA insurance exchanges.

    Health Insurance Marketplace Information by State

    Find your state on the following list to learn more about the subsidized health insurance policies available to you.

    Alabama

    • Alabama has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Alaska

    • Alaska has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Arizona

    • Arizona has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Arkansas

    • Arkansas has a state-based marketplace that uses a federal enrollment platform.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    California

    • California has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Coveredca.com  

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 31, 2022

    Colorado

    • Colorado has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Connect for Health Colorado

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Connecticut

    • Connecticut has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Accesshealthct.com 

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Delaware

    • Delaware has a partnership exchange and uses the federal enrollment platform.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    District of Columbia

    • The District of Columbia has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: dchealthlink.com

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 31, 2022

    Florida

    • Florida has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Georgia

    • Georgia has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Hawaii

    • Hawaii has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Idaho

    • Idaho has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Yourhealthidaho.org

    • The deadline for enrollment is: December 15, 2021

    Illinois

    Indiana

    • Indiana has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Iowa

    • Iowa has a partnership exchange and uses the federal enrollment platform.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Kansas

    • Kansas has a federally run marketplace with oversight retained by the state.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Kentucky

    • Kentucky has transitioned to a fully state-run program.

    • Marketplace website: kynect.ky.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Louisiana

    • Louisiana has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Maine

    • Maine has transitioned to an entirely state-run program.

    • Marketplace website: Coverme.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Maryland

    • Maryland has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Marylandhealthconnection.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Massachusetts

    • Massachusetts has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Mahealthconnector.org

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 23, 2022

    Michigan

    • Michigan has a partnership exchange and uses the federal enrollment platform.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Minnesota

    • Minnesota has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: MNsure.org

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Mississippi

    • Mississippi has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Missouri

    • Missouri has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Montana

    • Montana has a federally run marketplace with oversight retained by the state.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Nebraska

    • Nebraska has a federally run marketplace with oversight retained by the state.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Nevada

    • Nevada has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Nevadahealthlink.com

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    New Hampshire

    • New Hampshire has a partnership exchange and uses the federal enrollment platform.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    New Jersey

    • New Jersey has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Nj.gov/getcoverednj

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 31, 2022

    New Mexico

    • New Mexico has transitioned to a completely state-run program.

    • Marketplace website: Bewellnm.com

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    New York

    • New York has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Nystateofhealth.ny.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 31, 2022

    North Carolina

    • North Carolina has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    North Dakota

    • North Dakota has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Ohio

    • Ohio has a federally run marketplace with oversight retained by the state.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Oklahoma

    • Oklahoma has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Oregon

    • Oregon has a state-based marketplace that uses a federal enrollment platform.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Pennsylvania

    • Pennsylvania has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Pennie.com

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Rhode Island

    • Rhode Island has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Healthsourceri.com

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    South Carolina

    • South Carolina has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    South Dakota

    • South Dakota has a federally run marketplace with oversight retained by the state.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Tennessee

    • Tennessee has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Texas

    • Texas has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Utah

    • Utah has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Vermont

    • Vermont has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: healthconnect.vermont.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Virginia

    • Virginia currently has a state-based marketplace with a federal enrollment platform. The state enacted a bill to create an entirely state-run program by 2023.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Washington

    • Washington has a state-run marketplace with its own enrollment website.

    • Marketplace website: Wahealthplanfinder.org

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    West Virginia

    • West Virginia has a partnership exchange and uses the federal enrollment platform.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Wisconsin

    • Wisconsin has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    Wyoming

    • Wyoming has a federally run marketplace.

    • Marketplace website: HealthCare.gov

    • The deadline for enrollment is: January 15, 2022

    What Type of Insurance Can I Get During Open Enrollment?

    Only subsidized healthcare insurance for individuals, families and small business owners is available. Citizens cannot purchase an auto, home, or other types of property insurance policies through the healthcare marketplace. Big companies looking to ensure large groups of people must go through private insurance companies.

    Those who prefer to keep their private insurance policy and those who receive healthcare coverage through their job are not obligated to find insurance through the ACA program.

    The federal government no longer mandates health insurance, but some states do levy a tax penalty on those who have no healthcare coverage at all. There are some exemptions to the state mandate, including, a religious conscience exemption, a hardship exemption, and short coverage gap exemption. 

    If you are a federally recognized Native American tribe member, you are also exempt from paying the tax penalty.

    Staying Informed

    The status of the Federal Healthcare Marketplace or your state-run marketplace can change when state or federal regulations are changed.  Qualifications, subsidies, and enrollment periods may expand or shrink from year to year. The best way to know exactly what healthcare coverage is available during ACA open enrollment is to visit the online site.

    Check the above list for your state’s website or visit healthcare.gov and select your state from the dropdown box. You will be automatically routed to the right marketplace.

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