How Long Do I Have To Get Health Insurance?


In the United States, health insurance is a vital part of many people’s lives. It helps to protect us financially in case of an unexpected illness or injury, and can even provide access to better quality care. But how long do we have to get health insurance? The answer may surprise you. In most cases, you can get health insurance at any time – even if you don’t have an open enrollment period. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re considering getting health insurance outside of an open enrollment period.

The Open Enrollment Period

If you don’t have health insurance through a job, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or another source that provides qualifying coverage, then you can buy health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace during open enrollment.

Open enrollment for 2020 coverage starts on Friday, November 1 and ends Sunday, December 15. If you enroll in a plan by December 15, your coverage will start January 1.

During open enrollment, you can:
Enroll in a health insurance plan
Re-enroll in a Marketplace plan
Switch to a different Marketplace plan
Buy dental coverage

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a life event like losing other coverage, getting married, or having a baby, you can enroll in or change plans any time of year.

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Special Enrollment Periods

If you miss the deadline to enroll in a health insurance plan, you may be able to sign up during a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment Periods are usually triggered by life events like losing other coverage, getting married, or having a baby.

If you’re eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, you’ll have 60 days from the event to enroll in a new plan. You can shop for plans and compare prices on the Marketplace website or by contacting insurers directly.

Keep in mind that even if you have a life change that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period, you may still have to pay a fee for being uninsured if you didn’t have coverage for more than 3 months of the year.

Continuous Coverage

If you’re wondering how long you have to get health insurance, the answer is that it depends on a few factors. If you’re covered by a group health plan through your employer, you generally have 30 days from your start date to enroll in the plan. If you miss that deadline, you may be able to enroll during an open enrollment period or if you experience a qualifying life event.

If you’re not covered by a group health plan, you can purchase an individual health insurance policy at any time. However, if you want to be covered by Jan. 1, you’ll need to purchase a policy by Dec. 15. Open enrollment for individual health insurance plans typically runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15 each year.

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How to Get Health Insurance

If you’re wondering how to get health insurance, the process is actually pretty simple. In most cases, you’ll just need to contact a health insurance company and ask for a quote. Once you have a quote, you can apply for coverage and pay your first premium.

Of course, there are some things to keep in mind when shopping for health insurance. For example, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting coverage from a reputable company. You’ll also want to make sure that you understand the terms of your policy before you commit to anything.

But overall, the process of getting health insurance is relatively straightforward. So if you’re wondering how long you have to get health insurance, the answer is: it’s up to you!


No matter how long you have to get health insurance, it’s always best to be prepared. You never know when you might need it, and having coverage can give you peace of mind in knowing that you’re taken care of. We hope this article has helped clear up any confusion on the subject and given you a better understanding of how long you have to get health insurance.