Everyone can enroll during open enrollment, November 1st through January 15th, but after that point, only a “Qualifying Life Event” will allow you to enroll any other time of the year.
Even though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been the law for a while now, many people still are confused about when and how they can enroll for health insurance. It’s important to know that an individual or family can ONLY enroll for health insurance between the dates of November 1st and January 15th. This is called the Open Enrollment Period.
You DO NOT want to miss the open enrollment period. If you would like to make changes in your health insurance coverage, you must do so during this period. IF YOU DO NOT PURCHASE HEALTH INSURANCE DURING OPEN ENROLLMENT, YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO GET COVERAGE AGAIN UNTIL JANUARY 2017 unless you have a qualifying event. This would be considered a Special Enrollment Period which is a time outside of the open enrollment period during which you and your family have a right to sign up for health coverage. Generally, you can apply within 30 days prior to the life event and up to 60 days following the life event.
So, this leads to one of the most common and misunderstood health insurance questions we receive in our office, “What IS a Qualified Life Event?”
Life Events That May Qualify You for a Special Enrollment Period
- Getting married
- Having a baby
- Adopting a child or placing a child for adoption or foster care
- Losing other health coverage
- Losing group sponsored coverage for any reason
- COBRA coverage expires
- Turning 26
- Losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP
- Moving to a new residence
- Gaining citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.
- Leaving incarceration
- For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage:
- Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions
Please note: Voluntarily dropping your current health coverage does not qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.
Please do not miss your chance for signing up for health insurance coverage by missing either the open enrollment period or if applicable, your special enrollment period. Please contact our office if you have any questions or concerns about your current or upcoming health coverage or benefits. Our extremely knowledgable health insurance team would love to help you!