The ACA open enrollment period is when U.S. citizens can enroll in a health insurance marketplace plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Open enrollment takes place once a year during a specific timeframe and the ACA does not provide much wiggle room for those who do not sign up during open enrollment to enroll in a health insurance plan. This year, the 2020 open enrollment period begins on November 1, 2019, and continues through December 15, 2019. And if you’re looking for health insurance for the remainder of 2019, keep in mind that open enrollment ended in December 2018.

However, if you need health insurance outside of open enrollment, there are several ways to get access to affordable health care, like applying for short-term health insurance. You might also qualify for a special enrollment period that allows you to get or qualify for health insurance through the marketplace even if open enrollment has ended.

Apply for Short-Term Health Insurance

One perk of short-term health insurance is that you can apply for coverage at any time (even outside of open enrollment). So, if you recently lost health insurance coverage, you’re in between jobs, or you’re self-employed and do not receive health insurance through an employer, short-term health insurance could be a great option for you. Short-term health insurance provides access to affordable health care with some financial freedom from expensive, out-of-pocket medical costs for:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Ground ambulance trips
  • Some preventive care
  • Urgent care visits and more

Remember that short-term health insurance isn’t for everyone. If you have any pre-existing conditions or you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, note that short-term health plans do not provide coverage for these conditions. If you don’t have any chronic conditions, you’re not planning a pregnancy, and you’re looking for a health care solution for emergencies and doctor visits, then short-term health insurance could be your most affordable option outside of the open enrollment period and provide you with coverage while you need it.

Find Out if You Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period

If short-term medical insurance does not provide the amount of health insurance coverage that you need and you missed the open enrollment period, find out if your status qualifies you for a special enrollment period through the Affordable Care Act. Special enrollment periods exist to help those experiencing a qualifying life event to enroll for health insurance through the marketplace outside of open enrollment.

Is your circumstance a qualifying life event?

The following life changes could qualify you for a special enrollment period:

  • Getting married
  • Having a child, adopting a child, or fostering a child
  • Getting divorced or legally separated and losing health insurance
  • Death of family member resulting in loss of health insurance
  • Moving to a new county with a new zip code
  • Moving to the United States from a foreign country as an eligible worker or citizen
  • Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent
  • Losing health insurance through an employer

If any of these qualifying life events apply to you and you missed open enrollment, you could still enroll for health insurance coverage through the marketplace. If you need more coverage than short-term medical insurance can provide or if you think you may qualify for an ACA premium subsidy, see the full list of qualifying life events and find out if you are eligible for a special enrollment period.

If you missed the ACA open enrollment period and need health insurance, we hope you can breathe easy knowing that you still have affordable options for health care. Get in touch with one of our friendly Vera Health experts to discover more about our customized plans. Give us a call at 844-961-9645 to learn more about Vera: no mystery, no fluff, no hassle. If STM isn’t the best fit for you, we will help you find the right health care solution to fit your needs even if it isn’t with us.


Short Term Medical coverage is not required to comply with federal market requirements for health insurance, principally those contained in the Affordable Care Act. Be sure to check your policy carefully to make sure you are aware of any exclusions or limitations regarding coverage of pre-existing conditions or health benefits (such as hospitalization, emergency service, maternity care, preventive care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder services). If this coverage expires or you lose eligibility for this coverage, you might have to wait until an open enrollment period to get other health insurance coverage.

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Vera Health markets short term medical insurance products underwritten by National Health Insurance Company, Integon Indemnity Corporation, and Integon National Insurance Company.

Vera Health markets short term medical insurance products underwritten by National Health Insurance Company, Integon Indemnity Corporation, and Integon National Insurance Company.