Health Insurance Open Enrollment Checklist

The path to good health is not a one-way street; rather, it relies on our decision to pick the right options.


With the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (“Obama Care”), health insurance exchanges have been set up offering nearly all Americans the opportunity to view and purchase a health insurance plan that best meets their needs.

Open enrollment for these health insurance marketplaces typically begins at November 1 and persists until December 15. However, state health departments may make the decision to extend the enrollment period, further incenting those who need health insurance to buy it.

Deciding whether to renew your current health insurance plan or to pursue a new one can be tough. Before you make a decision this year, be sure to weigh all of your options accordingly. Check out these important open enrollment tips to get started.

Open Enrollment Dates Have Changed

Typically, the federal government begins the health insurance open enrollment period on November 1 and closes on January 1. For 2017, open enrollment starts at the same date but now closes on December 15, lasting six weeks.


Some state governments have passed legislation that changes these deadlines. Some states are extending the time that people have to buy health insurance. Currently, those states are:

  • California – Nov. 1 to Jan. 31
  • Colorado – Nov. 1 to Jan. 12
  • D.C. – Nov. 1 to Jan. 31
  • Massachusetts – Nov. 1 to Jan. 31
  • Minnesota – Nov. 1 to Jan. 14
  • Washington – Nov. 1 to Jan. 15
  • New York – Nov. 1 to Jan. 1

This isn’t an exhaustive list, as each state may have different rules. If you’re unsure, go to to see your state’s specific enrollment period.

Open Enrollment is a Time of Change

Open Enrollment is your annual opportunity to reflect upon your benefit elections and make any needed changes for the upcoming year. During this period, you may add or remove eligible dependents, and alter your benefit elections, with most changes going into effect on January 1, 2018.