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Want Health Insurance Through the Affordable Care Act? Your Last Chance Is Tuesday, Dec. 15

Are you hoping to sign up for 2021 health insurance through the Affordable Care Act?

If so, you should act quickly. The last day to enroll via is Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Obtaining coverage through the ACA’s health insurance marketplace – also commonly known as Obamacare – is intended as an option for people who won’t receive coverage starting Jan. 1, 2021 through their employer, or through programs like Medicaid, Medicare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Coverage via ACA plans sold during open enrollment takes effect Jan. 1.

To compare the cost of coverage plans available through the ACA, and to begin an application, visit’s “tips to get started” page.

Am I Eligible for ACA Coverage?

To be eligible for health coverage through the ACA’s marketplace, you must be a United States resident who’s either a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or is lawfully present in the country. (Read more about eligible immigration statuses).

People with Medicare coverage are not eligible for health or dental plans through the ACA. Incarcerated people also do not qualify for coverage. Preexisting conditions like cancer or diabetes do not disqualify applicants, and insurance companies in the ACA marketplace cannot refuse to cover their treatment or charge more to do so.

For more about the timeline for coverage, how the marketplace works and requirements for applying, offers this quick overview of the ACA system.

Signing Up in California

If you live in California, will redirect you toCovered California‘s site to sign up.

The deadline to sign up for full 2021 coverage that starts Jan. 1 through Covered California is still Dec. 15. However, Covered California’s open enrollment period is active through Jan. 31, 2021, which would allow you to miss the Dec. 15 deadline and still sign up for coverage (albeit coverage that wouldn’t start until Feb. 1.)

What if I Miss the Dec. 15 Deadline?

If you don’t enroll in time to make the Dec. 15 deadline, you might still be eligible for what’s called a special enrollment period.

This may allow you to enroll if you’ve had a change in your household (like getting married, getting divorced or having a baby), a change in where you live, or you lose your qualifying health insurance (for example, because you lost your job.)

If you already signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and want to make changes to the plan you bought, qualifying for a special enrollment period is the only way you’ll be able to do so. Find out more about the special enrollment period.

Copyright 2020 KQED