Open Enrollment Period

Covered California

Covered California 2020 Open Enrollment Period


The open enrollment period is expected to run from November, 2020 through January 31, 2021. The renewal period will be from October 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020. It is the one time of the year when consumers can freely sign up for coverage without having to experience a qualifying life change.


Having a health insurance plan in place this year is critical because of a new law that the state of California enacted that requires Californians to have coverage in 2020. Those who can afford coverage, but choose to go without it, could face a penalty when they file their taxes with the California Franchise Tax Board in 2021.

When is the Open Enrollment Period for Covered California 2020 - 2021?

Open Enrollment for Covered California is expected to begin on October 15, 2020 and continues until January 31, 2021.

What if I want to apply and it's not Open Enrollment?

The only other way to buy an insurance plan outside of open enrollment is to qualify for special enrollment. This time frame is called the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This exception allows you to apply for health insurance if you’ve had certain qualifying life events, such as:

  • Losing your job
  • Moving to a new state
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Becoming a widow or widower
  • Aging off your parent’s plan
  • Having a new baby
Note: that you won’t be eligible for special enrollment if you lost your previous health plan because you failed to pay your monthly premiums or if you voluntarily cancelled the coverage. For more Qualifying Life Events and information about Special Enrollment Period, please visit here.

What are your options during Open Enrollment?

Depending on your current situation, you have the following options.

  • Buy a plan through Covered California. You may want to buy a plan through the marketplace if you qualify for a tax credit to help offset your premiums. Qualifying usually depends on your income and household size. To see if you qualify, call us today at (800) 650-0922.
  • Renew or change your current plan. During the open enrollment period, you can renew your existing plan. You won’t have to do anything if you want to keep what you have. But if your current plan is changing — for instance, your PCP is leaving the network, or your drugs aren’t in the list of covered medications — then you may want to switch to a plan that best suits your current needs. If you need to change policies, the open enrollment period is the best time.
  • Enroll in Medi-Cal. If your income is below 128% of the Federal Poverty Level, you qualify for Medi-Cal. For more information about Medi-Cal, click here.

What is Covered California?

Covered California is a free service that connects Californians with brand-name health insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It's the only place where you can get financial help when you buy health insurance from well-known companies. For more information, please visit here.

When is the Open Enrollment Period for Obamacare?

California offer Obamacare health insurance plans through the state-run exchange, Covered California. This means your Obamacare plan options are the same as your Covered California options. The plans on Covered California are divided by carrier and into four different metal tiers — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The different tiers determine how much your health plan pays and how much you pay out-of-pocket.

Open Enrollment for Covered California is expected to begin on October 15, 2020 and continues until January 31, 2021.

The Application Process


Applications for Covered California health insurance plans are accepted each year during open enrollment. Outside of that time, you can enroll in a plan only if you have a life event that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment PeriodMedi-Cal enrollment is year-round, however, and Covered California and Medi-Cal use the same application.

When you apply for coverage through Covered California, your application is automatically checked to see if your family is eligible for financial help through Covered California or for free or low-cost Medi-Cal. If you are not interested in financial help, Covered California also has an option for consumers who do not want financial assistance for a Covered California health insurance plan or coverage through Medi-Cal.  Most consumers choose to apply for financial assistance to help pay for health coverage.

Details about each step of the application process are described below.

1. Explore Your Options

First, call us at (800) 650-0922 to learn about the coverage options available to you and get an estimate of your costs. You will inform your certified insurance agent basic information about yourself and they will show you the plans available in your area. You’ll also see whether you are likely to qualify for financial assistance or Medi-Cal.


2. Compare Plans

Now that you’ve provided your basic information, and found out if you qualify for financial help or Medi-Cal, you can compare the health plans that are available to you and your family. Depending on where you live, there are different plans to choose from and different levels of coverage. During this step you can compare co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs depending on the metal tier (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum). No matter the metal tier you end up choosing, you’ll be able to compare plans and estimate what you can expect to pay and see how much financial help is available based on your family size, income and where you live. }


3. Apply

You can apply by calling us at (800) 650-0922. If there are family members on your tax return, they'll be included in your application as well. You’ll need their Social Security numbers, birthdates, immigration documents and current income information if applicable.


4. Review Your Choices

You may also be interested in getting dental and/or vision coverage and our team of certified insurance agents can go over your options to see which plan best fits your needs.


5. Pay Your Bill

Once you have enrolled for health care coverage through Covered California, you need to pay your premium in order for your health care coverage to start.

Some plans accept the first monthly payment through Covered California’s online application system. If your plan does not accept your first payment this way, you will get a bill from your health insurance company. Just follow the instructions on the bill for making a payment. If you do not receive a bill, please contact your selected health insurance plan or make your first payment using the information on our Paying Your Premium page.

Children’s dental coverage (pediatric dental coverage) is included with your health insurance coverage, so you will not receive a separate invoice for that coverage. But if you purchase a separate family dental plan for yourself or your child, you will pay that premium directly to the dental company. Follow the instructions on the bill or visit Paying Your Premium.

Payment for all plans must be paid directly to the insurance company. You need to pay your specific insurance company — not Covered California — no later than the due date printed on the bill.


You’re Covered!

Congratulations on getting covered! To learn what to expect next, and to get the most you can out of your coverage, please visit our Using Your Plan page.

And remember that if you experience important changes during the year, such as a change in family size, income, immigration status or address, you must report those changes to Covered California. Contact us within 30 days at (800) 650-0922 to report your change. You can also visit our Reporting a Change page for more information.