Will individuals and small employers losing their non-ACA compliant plans be able to enroll in health insurance plans outside of open enrollment?


Yes. For individuals, the loss of existing coverage is considered a triggering event that makes a person eligible for a special enrollment period to select new coverage, either through Connect for Health Colorado, an insurance broker, or directly with an insurance company.

  • Most individual plans are already aligned with the calendar year for health insurance, meaning they will expire at the end of 2015.  Consumers in these plans can select a new plan during the next open enrollment period, which begins November 1, 2015, and ends January 31, 2016.
  • Individuals who have policies that will expire in the middle of the year can enroll in an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan once they receive their notice of termination from their carrier.  They will want to make sure the new plan will be effective the day following the termination date of their current plan to avoid a gap in coverage.
  • Individuals cannot simply drop their plan because they know it will terminate at some point this year.  Voluntarily dropping coverage is not a triggering event that will allow someone to enroll outside of open enrollment.  Individuals who voluntarily drop their current plan will have to wait until the next open enrollment to enroll in coverage.  That coverage would begin January 2016.

Small businesses may purchase plans anytime throughout the year, without waiting for an open enrollment period.  When their existing plans terminate, they can buy new plans either through Connect for Health Colorado, an insurance broker, or directly with an insurance company.  The annual open enrollment period for their employees will be based on the plan’s effective date.