FAQs: What to Know About Enrolling for Health Insurance

Apicha Community Health Center Oct 27, 2017  

Apicha CHC - iStock

The open enrollment period for health insurance has been extended again this year, but we understand some folks still have a lot of questions. From knowing where to enroll to what you need to enroll, Apicha CHC has you covered.

This blog was last updated March 4, 2021.

The open enrollment special extension period is until May 15

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State has issued several extensions for open enrollment. The new extension period is until May 15. With this extension, New York joins the federal Marketplace and other state-based Marketplaces giving consumers even more time to enroll for 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York's health insurance Marketplace, or directly through insurers.

The 5 W's of open enrollment

Open enrollment comes once a year and you may find yourself confused and full of questions. The media coverage of health care might make things even more confusing. This FAQ sheet is our way of letting you know the basic information YOU need to make sure you are covered for 2021.

What is open enrollment?

Open enrollment is the time of year you can enroll into health insurance.  If you don’t sign up for insurance during this time you may not be able to sign up until next year, resulting in lack of coverage for the full year of 2021.  You also may be subject to a tax penalty for not being covered.


Click here to make an appointment with our Insurance Navigators


What are the extended open enrollment dates?

Open enrollment starts November 1st, 2020 nationwide. However, the enrollment deadline varies by state, and this year we've seen numerous extensions to the open enrollment period. In New York state the last day to enroll in health insurance is now May 15, 2021. However, don’t wait until the last minute and get started right away! Here are the dates you need to know with the extended period. 

March 15, 2021

Enroll by this date and coverage will begin April 1, 2021.

April 15, 2021

Enroll by this date and coverage will begin May 1, 2021. 

May 15, 2021

Last day to enroll. Coverage will begin June 1, 2021. 

Where can I apply?

You can apply for health insurance through New York State of Health Marketplace.  There are several ways you can apply for coverage.

  1. You can apply online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov
  2. You can apply by phone by calling 855-355-5777
  3. Or you can apply in person by making an appointment with one of our state-certified Navigators at Apicha CHC. A Navigator can assist you in the application process and help you pick a plan that best fits your needs.

Who is eligible to apply for insurance through the NY State of Health?

Only people who live in New York State can apply for health insurance through the New York State of Health Marketplace.  You will need to provide information regarding yourself and your household, immigration status, income, and current health insurance.

Why is it important to have health insurance?

Health insurance protects you from the high costs of healthcare. Without health insurance, you risk expensive medical care due to unexpected medical emergencies. It is also a great way to stay healthy and continue to do all the awesome things New Yorkers get to do. Preventative care and early intervention are more likely when you have insurance. So don’t wait and get covered today!

COVID-19 & open enrollment information

The extended 2020 Special Enrollment Period coincides with the Open Enrollment Period and allows uninsured individuals to enroll in a qualified health plan for November or December 2020 and continue enrollment in the same plan for 2021 without a gap in coverage. The special enrollment period will help protect the health of New Yorkers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Enrollment in other programs through the NY State of Health (Medicaid, Child Health Plus and the Essential Plan) is available year-round.

How Apicha CHC can help

If you need assistance enrolling for health insurance, Apicha CHC has staff dedicated to helping you. You can schedule an appointment with one of our health insurance Navigators, who will help you enroll and pick a plan that is right for you. Additionally, below is a list of the following organizations with language translations that can help you enroll.


Ready to take action about your health?
 request an appointment

Subscribe For Updates

What's the Difference Between Nonbinary & Genderqueer?

What's the Difference Between Nonbinary & Genderqueer?

Understanding different identities can be difficult, but it's also incredibly important. And for...
Don't Miss the 2020 Census & Insurance Enrollment Deadlines!

Don't Miss the 2020 Census & Insurance Enrollment Deadlines!

The census and insurance enrollment are two important parts of your life -- and this month is the...
Early Signs of HIV

Early Signs of HIV

Early HIV is the beginning stage of HIV disease, right after HIV infection occurs.
How to Support Someone Who is Transitioning

How to Support Someone Who is Transitioning

Making the choice to transition is a big milestone. Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or anyone...
Gay Sex & Primary Care: What You Need To Know

Gay Sex & Primary Care: What You Need To Know

  Some of the many ways Apicha Community Health Center (CHC) has served New York City’s LGBT...
Recognizing National Transgender HIV Testing Day

Recognizing National Transgender HIV Testing Day

April 18 is National Transgender HIV Testing Day, a day to encourage trans and gender...
Types of Primary Care You Should Know

Types of Primary Care You Should Know

Primary care is an essential component of staying healthy, and everyone should have a primary care...
10 Reasons Why You Should Get Primary Care

10 Reasons Why You Should Get Primary Care

Primary care is an important tool to take care of your health. Getting annual physicals,...
Mental Health Tips for Coping with Anti-Asian Violence

Mental Health Tips for Coping with Anti-Asian Violence

In the past year, anti-Asian violence has skyrocketed. There were over 3,800 reports of anti-Asian...
Apicha CHC CEO Advocates for 340B Program at City Council & Community Press Conference

Apicha CHC CEO Advocates for 340B Program at City Council & Community Press Conference

On Thursday, March 18, New York City Council Health Committee Chair Mark Levine and community...