For shopping in the exchange for new coverage:
There are 3 key dates to remember for 2014 enrollment:
October 1, 2013: Open enrollment starts
January 1, 2014: Health coverage can start
March 31, 2014: Open enrollment ends
Enroll by the 15th of the month prior to when your coverage starts
Going forward, Open Enrollment will be October 1 - December 31 each year.
You can apply for Medicaid and CHIP any time:
Medicaid provides low-cost or no-cost insurance to low-income individuals or families. Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides insurance to children whose family's incomes are too high for Medicaid but they still need some financial assistance. These are both administered by your state and can vary depending on where you live. If you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP, your coverage can begin immediately. You can also apply for coverage at any time.
Self-Employed will shop for individual and family plans, not business plans
Under the law, if you are Self-Employed (business of one), then you are not considered an "employer" under the Affordable Care Act. Therefore, you'll be able to use the exchange to qualify for lower monthly premiums or out-of-pocket expenses based on your household income on new plans... if you don't have access to an affordable job-based plan through your spouse's employer or other government-sponsored coverage. Be sure to mark those 3 dates at the top of this post on your calendar. Open Enrollment rules will apply to you.
Small Business (less than 50 employees) can start coverage any time:
Under ACA, a small employer has less than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Small employers generally may start offering health insurance coverage to their employees through any time during the year.
Large employers can start coverage any time:
A large employer has 50 or more full-time equivalent employees. Large employers generally may start offering health insurance coverage to their employees through the exchange at any time during the year.