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Open Enrollment

Whether you are getting a health insurance plan for the first time or you want to replace the one you have, it’s important to know when you can sign up for or make changes to your health coverage. Here’s what you need to know about these periods, called open enrollment, and what happens if you miss them.

When Is Open Enrollment? 

If you are in the market to buy a private health plan, you will be able to do so through the Health Insurance Marketplace during an official open-enrollment period.

Open Enrollment is usually between November 1st through December 15th of every year.You may be eligible for Special Enrollment.

You can apply for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program through the Marketplace at any time.

What's New for 2021?

Some health plans have made changes to their marketplace offerings for 2021. Please find below the most current information that is available.

  • Blue Precision HMO - NorthShore will participate for 2021 (verify PCP participation)
  • Bright Health – NorthShore will participate for 2021
  • Ambetter - NorthShore DOES NOT participate
  • BlueCare Direct - NorthShore DOES NOT participate
  • Blue Choice Preferred - NorthShore DOES NOT participate
  • Blue FocusCare - NorthShore DOES NOT participate
  • Cigna Connect - NorthShore DOES NOT participate
  • Cigna Plus with Northwestern Medicine – NorthShore DOES NOT participate

What Is a Special Enrollment Period? 

There are a few circumstances in which you may be able to enroll or change your health insurance plan outside of the official open-enrollment period. If you have certain qualifying events occur, you may be eligible for what’s called a special enrollment period. Pre-enrollment verification is required for special enrollment periods. Documentation must be submitted that proves eligibility for the special enrollment period before consumers are allowed to enroll in marketplace coverage. 

These events include, but are not limited to:

  • Moving to a new state
  • A change of income
  • Marriage, divorce or a new baby

In most cases, the special enrollment period runs 60 days from the qualifying event.

What Happens if I Miss the Deadline? 

If you miss the open enrollment deadline, you may qualify for coverage via a Special Enrollment Period. There is also a Special Enrollment Period for complex situations. Visit to learn more.

Last updated: October 2020