Begin­ning Novem­ber 1, 2015, indi­vid­u­als (includ­ing their fam­i­lies) may apply for new health insur­ance or switch to a dif­fer­ent health-care plan through a Health Insur­ance Mar­ket­place. The open enroll­ment peri­od ends Jan­u­ary 31, 2016.

Indi­vid­u­als can use Health Insur­ance Mar­ket­places to com­pare health plans for ben­e­fits and price, and select a plan that fits their needs. Indi­vid­u­als have until Decem­ber 15, 2015, to enroll in or change plans for new cov­er­age to start Jan­u­ary 1, 2016. Cov­er­age starts Feb­ru­ary 1, 2016, for those enrolling in or chang­ing plans between Jan­u­ary 2, 2016, and Jan­u­ary 15, 2016. Enroll­ments or changes between Jan­u­ary 16 and Jan­u­ary 31 take effect March 1, 2016.

For those fail­ing to meet the Jan­u­ary 31 dead­line, the only way to enroll in a health plan through a Mar­ket­place is by qual­i­fy­ing for a spe­cial enroll­ment peri­od, which is the 60-day peri­od fol­low­ing cer­tain life events that involve a change in fam­i­ly sta­tus (for exam­ple, mar­riage or birth of a child) or loss of oth­er health cov­er­age. Job-based plans must pro­vide a spe­cial enroll­ment peri­od of 30 days.

To learn more about Health Insur­ance Mar­ket­places, refer to the gov­ern­ment site, www.healthcare.gov.