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The Facts about Health Insurance Open Enrollment in California

doctor meeting with patient

If you’re a California resident who is planning to buy or renew your 2023 individual or family health insurance through Obamacare, your Open Enrollment period is from Nov. 1, 2023 through Jan. 31, 2024.  

These are important dates to remember. You must use this Open Enrollment period to get coverage for you and/or your family in 2024, unless you have a qualifying life event that allows you to enroll later. We’ll explain elsewhere on this page which situations are considered qualifying life events. 

Just know for now that if you don’t have such a life event and miss the Open Enrollment period for Obamacare, you or your family will likely go without health insurance for 2024. In California, there is a tax penalty if you do not get health coverage. 

Also, keep in mind that the concept of Open Enrollment only concerns health insurance. You can buy life, auto, homeowners, and all other forms of insurance at any point when you need coverage. 

What Is Obamacare? 

This federal health marketplace insurance program is officially known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but has been nicknamed Obamacare since it was created under the presidential administration of Barack Obama. 

Its main purpose is to provide affordable health insurance for Americans who don’t qualify for coverage through their employers, the Veterans Administration, Medicare, Medicaid, or other free or low-cost programs. Without the ACA, or Obamacare, individual health insurance policies were sometimes too costly for certain segments of the population. 

In the State of California, residents can contact Freeway Insurance at (877) 583-1475 to get rate quotes for individual health insurance through Obamacare and to enroll. 

What If I Have Health Insurance Through My Employer? 

If you have coverage through your employer, it’s likely that someone in your HR department or another responsible party will help you handle your company’s Open Enrollment period. 

The Health Marketplace Open Enrollment we’re explaining here is only for individuals or families who don’t have access to group health insurance because they’re unemployed, self-employed, or employed by a company that doesn’t offer group health insurance. 

How Does Open Enrollment Work in California? 

To renew an existing Healthcare Marketplace individual health insurance policy in California or to sign up for a new insurance policy, contact a Freeway Insurance agent to find out rate information and other details and to get enrolled in a health plan in California

You’ll need to have the following information on hand: 

  • Your tax returns 
  • Your social security number and those of all household members for whom you’re seeking coverage 
  • Your current health insurance information, if you have it 

Based on the information you provide, your Freeway Insurance agent will be able to determine the coverage rates for which you qualify. The cost will be based upon your age, an estimate of your annual income in the coverage year (2024), the size of your household, where you live, and other factors. 

woman looking over health insurance open enrollment options at desk

What Is the Special Enrollment Period? 

Special Enrollment follows Open Enrollment and is designed to help those who have a life change get health insurance. You must enroll in the Healthcare Marketplace coverage through the Open Enrollment period ending Jan. 31, 2024 unless you have a life event that qualifies you to enroll for coverage at other times throughout the year. You generally have 60 days after a qualifying life event to enroll for Obamacare coverage through Special Enrollment. 

What Is a Qualifying Life Event? 

It’s an event or occurrence that can make an individual or a family qualify for Obamacare coverage at some point after the annual Open Enrollment period for that coverage year. One example of a qualifying event would be if you had group health insurance from an employer at the time of Open Enrollment, but you became unemployed and lost your coverage months later. 

Here are several more examples of life events that might qualify you to apply for Obamacare coverage outside the Open Enrollment window: 

  • Getting a divorce 
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen 
  • Involuntarily losing other health insurance coverage 
  • Having a baby or adopting a child during the year 
  • Becoming a widow or widower and losing coverage 
  • Taking a new job that doesn’t offer health insurance 
  • Undergoing a loss of income that now makes you qualified for the first time 
  • Making a permanent move to a location where new health plans are available 
  • Losing eligibility to stay on a parent’s family plan 

You might need documentation to support some qualifying life events when you purchase health insurance after Open Enrollment. Examples of this would be a birth certificate or adoption papers if you want to add a child to your policy, or a naturalization certificate or certificate of citizenship if you’re a new U.S. citizen. 

Your Freeway Insurance agent can help you determine the paperwork you might need for Special Enrollment due to a qualifying life event and answer all your questions regarding your coverage needs and options. 

It’s worth repeating that if you do experience a qualifying life event that makes you eligible for ACA Healthcare Marketplace coverage outside of the Open Enrollment period, you must initiate Special Enrollment within 60 days of the date of that occurrence. Otherwise, you might be without insurance for 2024.

Find Affordable Health Insurance in California Today 

Your independent Freeway Insurance agent can answer all of your questions and help you and your loved ones enroll in affordable health insurance in California. Simply call us at (877) 583-1475 or get a quick quote online. You can also find a California location near you for a productive face-to-face meeting with an agent.

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