Q: If I miss the December 23 deadline to enroll in a plan with a January 1 effective date, but then I enroll just a day a day or two after the deadline, when would my policy be effective?
A. First: Good news. The federal government has extended the December enrollment by one day. You now have until the end of day on December 24 to enroll. (Maryland is the notable exception. Maryland residents have until the end of the day on December 27 to enroll and until January 15 to make their first premium payment.)
If you don’t make that deadline – and you enroll anytime between December 25 and January 15 – you’ll be able to get a February 1 effective date. That’s the soonest a policy can be effective for anyone who does not complete their enrollment by the end of the day on Tuesday, December 24.
Most carriers and exchanges have granted a one-time extension of the first month’s premium requirement, so people who complete their enrollment by December 24 have until January 10 to pay the first premium and still have coverage effective on January 1. (Check with your carrier to see what their deadline is, as there is still a little variation among states and carriers.)
For effective dates of February 1 and beyond, enrollees’ first premium will be due no later than the end of the month before coverage goes into effect. So if you enroll between December 25 and January 15, you’ll need to pay your first premium before the end of January (possibly earlier if your carrier requires it) in order to have coverage effective on February 1.