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What the Special Open Enrollment Period Means for Freelancers

The time to enroll in Marketplace health insurance closes August 15th. Here’s everything you need to know.

By Piper Baker • Dec 14, 2021

After the year we’ve had, health is likely at the top of your list of concerns. And right up there with it should be your health insurance

If you’re a full time freelancer, it’s pretty likely you get your health insurance through a spouse, a parent, the HealthCare.gov Marketplace, or even an app designed for freelancers just like you such as Catch. No matter where your insurance is coming from, the time to enroll in Marketplace health insurance closes August 15th. Here’s everything you need to know. 

What is an open enrollment period

Open enrollment is the time period when people can enroll in new, make changes to existing, or lock in their old benefit plans for another year if they’re happy with their current coverage. If you don’t sign up for health benefits during open enrollment, you won’t be able to enroll in health insurance, nor change your current plan until the next open enrollment. There are some exceptions if you happen to experience a qualifying event like losing your full time job, moving, getting married, or having or adopting a child – in any of these cases, you’ll be able to get coverage outside of an open enrollment period.

What makes this open enrollment period different?

Back in January, President Biden signed an Executive Order that reopened the health insurance marketplace so that Americans without coverage could get the insurance they need. Running until August 15, 2021, this Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is available to all Americans – with no need for a qualifying life event. 🙌 This allows people extra time to take advantage of new health insurance savings provided through the American Rescue Plan – giving both new and current enrollees extra time to get coverage, so you don’t gotta get hitched just to get covered. Once this special enrollment Period closes, the next time people looking to enroll in the individual market will be able to enroll in health insurance will start November 1st. So – for freelancers out there who lost their full time job, and therefore their insurance in the middle of the pandemic & are still paying way too much for Cobra, this ones for you. 

What can you do?

If you’re in the market for insurance (and if you’ve read this far, we’re guessing you are), you can enroll in Marketplace health coverage through August 15 via healthcare.gov. But if you like your health insurance like you like your banking apps – that is, designed to fit the needs of freelancers like yourself – our partner Catch can help you find the right Marketplace health coverage at the best possible price, all within the time it takes to have your morning coffee. And, if you received unemployment compensation in 2021, Catch can help you see  if you’re eligible for $0 premiums on your health insurance.

As freelancers, the constant grind makes it hard to put your own needs over your business needs, so taking time out of the work day to look for coverage but seem like a drag. But having good health insurance is one way to ensure both you and your business are thriving no matter what the circumstances.

Lili Banking

Written by
Piper Baker

Piper Baker is a staff writer at Lili.

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