Understanding qualifying life events and Special Enrollment Periods.
Under the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – you can typically sign up for a health insurance plan only during the annual open enrollment period. For example, for health coverage starting in 2018, open enrollment is from November 1st, 2017 to December 15th, 2017. .
This graphic illustrates the application window and deadlines for the 2018 Open Enrollment Period:
You can also view this video below for deeper explanation on Obamacare enrollment period.
If you need medical insurance for 2018, the nationwide Open Enrollment Period is scheduled to start again on November 1, 2017 and scheduled to end on January 15th, 2017.
If you miss the open enrollment period, you’ll need to experience a “qualifying life event” under the law in order to enroll in a new major medical health plan or change your existing coverage. In most cases, a qualifying life event will trigger a 60-day special enrollment period (SEP) during which you can change your existing coverage or apply for a new plan.
If you do experience a qualifying life event, eHealth can help you find a major medical health plan that fits your needs, as well as see if you qualify for a government subsidy to help pay for it.
Examples of qualifying life events
Below are some of the qualifying life events typically allowing you to enroll in coverage outside of the nationwide open enrollment period:
- Loss of existing health coverage because of a:
- Job change
- Job loss
- Changes in your family due to:
- Marriage or divorce
- Birth or adoption of a child
- Death of a family member
- Permanently moving to a new location outside your old plans’ coverage area
- Loss of eligibility for:
- CHIP (Child Health Insurance Plan)
- Expiration of your COBRA benefits
- Loss of coverage under your parent’s health plan
- Gaining or losing a dependent
- Change in disability status
- Certain changes in your income
- Changes in your household size
More about Special Enrollment Periods
If you have a qualifying life event that triggers a special enrollment period, we recommend that you have documentation of your qualifying life event with you when you apply for new coverage – whether you apply online or offline.
You should also be aware that you’re not likely to qualify for a special enrollment period if you voluntarily cancel your existing coverage or lose it because you didn’t pay your premiums or other bills.
To see if you qualify for a special enrollment period and possibly government assistance to help pay for your medical insurance, take a look at your health plan options now.