Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you normally need to apply for your individual or family health coverage during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). OEP is a period of time in which you can enroll for health insurance without experiencing a life event that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period (see below for more information). For health coverage starting in 2015, the OEP is Nov 15, 2014 through Feb 15, 2015.
The specific date your 2015 coverage starts depends on when you submit your application. In general, if you apply between the 1st and 15th of the month, your start date is the 1st of the next month. If you apply after the 15th of the month, your start date is usually the 1st of the month after the next. Your exact start date depends on your particular insurance company and the plan you choose. To speed up the process, it’s a good idea to e-sign your application.
Do be aware that after 2015 OEP ends (Feb 15, 2015), you can sign up for 2015 health coverage during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), if you qualify. You qualify for an SEP if you experience certain life events, such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or a change in employment.