Health Insurance Marketplaces are now open for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). In the 36 states with Marketplaces on, individuals have the opportunity to buy a new health insurance policy or change policies until August 15, 2021.

While this SEP was created in response to the pandemic, you do not have to have been impacted by COVID-19 to benefit.

This is an opportunity for anyone in the cancer community to purchase new insurance or make sure that their current plan meets their needs. For example, if your current plan doesn’t cover your health care providers, you can switch plans to one that does.

States that run their own marketplaces will reopen for this SEP, but many have different starting and ending dates. If you live in CA, CT, CO, DC, ID, MD, MA, MN, NV, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT, WA, click here to find your state’s Marketplace.

Need help figuring out which plan to pick?

Triage Cancer has lots of resources to help you navigate your health insurance options. Learn more about:

If you enroll in a plan on, during this new SEP:

  • Plan starts the first of the month after your selection (e.g., you enroll March 20 and your plan begins April 1)
  • Once you submit an application, you have 30 days to choose a plan
  • Your coverage won’t start until you pay your first premium
  • If you already have a Marketplace plan, you can change to any available plan in your area, with the same level of coverage
  • This SEP is for new enrollments as well as plan changes. But, any out-of-pocket costs you have already paid in 2021, will not transfer to a new policy
  • Subsidies are available to those earning up to 400% of the federal poverty level, which is about $51,520 for one person, or $106,000 for a family of four

If you miss this SEP, you may have to wait until open enrollment begins in November to sign up or make changes to your plan. However, there are other events that can qualify for you a different SEP, such as moving, changes in your household, loss of health insurance, and many others. Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods.

If the Health Insurance Marketplace decides you are not eligible for a SEP to buy a Marketplace plan, and you disagree, you can appeal that decision.

Triage Cancer can answer your questions about choosing and using health insurance. For all of our health insurance information, such as Quick Guides, animated videos, and webinars, please visit our Health Insurance Resources at


This article originally appeared on the Triage Cancer website on February 22, 2021, and was updated on March 24, 2021. It is republished with permission.