The effective date of a health insurance policy is the date that coverage begins. While you might apply for health insurance on a certain date, you are not necessarily covered from that point forward. Your policy will have an effective date for when coverage begins.
Different insurance companies will have different policies for when the coverage begins. For example, if you sign up for group health insurance on the first day of your new job and authorize the payroll deductions covering your portion of coverage, you may have an immediate effective date of coverage depending on the insurance company and your employer’s policies.
If you are purchasing an individual health insurance policy, your effective date of coverage may be contingent upon the results of your health exam.
It’s important to know when the effective date is so that you can plan your medical needs accordingly. For example, if the effective date is several weeks away, you might want to postpone routine medical appointments until the coverage begins otherwise you will have to pay for these uncovered appointments on your own.