In most cases, you can only enroll in health insurance during the yearly Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which typically begins November 1 and ends January 15. But if you have what’s called a “qualifying life event,” you may be eligible for a “Special Enrollment Period” (SEP), which lets you enroll or switch health insurance plans outside of Open Enrollment.
While the qualifying events listed below vary in nature, most have one thing in common: You need to have had health insurance prior to the qualifying event in order to be eligible for SEP. There are a few instances where this is not the case, and these are noted below.
Some of the most common qualifying life events for health insurance coverage include:
In addition to all of the above events, California residents have additional opportunities to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to qualifying life events for health insurance.
You have limited time. You only have 60 days before the qualifying event and 60 days after the qualifying event to get enrolled. If you don’t do it within this timeframe, you will need to wait until the next OEP to enroll in a plan.
With a new baby or adoption, your coverage can be back-dated. Coverage for dependents is retroactive to the day of the event, meaning that it’s back-dated to the date in which you gave birth or the adoption went through.
You need proof of the qualifying life event. The type of documentation that you will need to show proof of eligibility will vary based on the qualifying event you are claiming.
If you’ve determined that you have experienced one of the qualifying events for health insurance (or will within the next 60 days), be sure to start shopping for your plan now. Stride is here to help you find the right plan at the lowest possible prices.
If you don’t have a qualifying event and can’t enroll in health insurance right now, you can still protect yourself and your family with dental, vision, and life insurance — you can enroll in this type of coverage any time of year, and in most case start using your coverage the following month.