ACA Open Enrollment and Qualifying Life Events

Each year during open enrollment, you can shop for and enroll in a new ACA-compliant plan. If you intend to purchase your plan from an insurance Marketplace or Exchange, check with them regarding enrollment deadlines.

Choosing a New Plan


For Maryland residents:
Maryland Health Connection


For Washington, D.C. residents:
DC Health Link


For Virginia residents:

Don't feel confident choosing a health plan alone? We can help.

Once open enrollment ends, you can only buy health insurance if you meet the criteria for a qualifying life event.

Qualifying Life Events

A qualifying life event is an event that significantly changes your health insurance needs and qualifies you to buy health insurance outside of the regular annual open enrollment period. Each qualifying life event grants a specific timeframe for enrolling in a new plan. Generally, this timeframe is 30-60 days (about 2 months) before and/or after the life event.

Examples of qualifying life events include but are not limited to:

Change in household

  • Getting married or divorced
  • Having a baby or adopting a child
  • Experiencing a death in the family
  • Receiving a court order of a child or qualified dependent

Loss of health coverage

  • Losing your job
  • Your employer is no longer paying for your health coverage
  • Your employer-sponsored plan is no longer affordable
  • Having refused or exhausted COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) coverage within the last 60 days (about 2 months)

Change in residence

  • Moving to a different ZIP code or country
  • A seasonal worker moving to or from the place they live and work
  • Moving to or from a shelter or other transitional housing
  • A student moving to or from the place they attend school
  • Having been released from a prison term within the last 60 days (about 2 months)

Other life events

  • There was an enrollment error in your previous application
  • You lost or gained eligibility for financial assistance (also called subsidies)
  • Your present plan violated an important term of your coverage agreement
  • You get health insurance through a new job or your spouse/partner