special enrollment

Life events can change insurance

Some of our biggest life events that trigger special enrollments and change our healthcare coverage too.

Under the Affordable Care Act, many life events, such as losing a job, having a baby, moving, divorcing and getting married, allow people to sign up for health insurance throughout the year, outside of the annual open enrollment period.

Obamacare enrollment runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31 for 2016 coverage.

Young adults are more likely than any other age group to experience a life event that qualifies them for special enrollment

Once people understand that getting married, having a kid or moving can be an opportunity to enroll in affordable care, people are interested in hearing about their options. Especially if they picked a plan they are not so happy with.

One thing to remember though, there is only a limited period of time to get a new health policy when these life events happen.

As a general rule, you have to enroll within 60 days of a qualifying event. It’s not an open window.

Not all big life events can alter your insurance coverage — at least not immediately.

Pregnancy

Having a baby, triggers an opportunity to switch health plans, but most people are suprised to find out that pregnancy does not trigger an opportunity. Pregnancy doesn’t allow you to switch plans, it only allows you to add the child to the plan.

Here are some common reasons people qualify for a special enrollment period under Obamacare:

Losing insurance

The reasons for losing insurance are varied – The loss of a job-based plan, aging out of a parent’s coverage at the age of 26, losing coverage through divorce, or losing eligibility for Medicaid or the state’s insurance program for people with low incomes, trigger a special enrollment period.

Most people feel COBRA is their only option. They aren’t aware that after leaving or losing their job they can sign up for a plan and even apply for a tax credit to lower their insurance costs.

Once you elect COBRA, you can’t just drop it. If you continue your current job-based health plan through COBRA, you’ll have to keep it until it ends or the next annual open enrollment comes around when you can sign up for a new plan. Canceling COBRA before it expires does not count as a qualifying event triggering a special enrollment period.

In fact, losing insurance because of something you do yourself — say, stopping payment because you believe that your plan is too pricey — won’t qualify you for a special enrollment period.

Moving

Most health plans operate within a specific geographic area. If you permanently move to a new city or ZIP Code, you may qualify for a special enrollment period and have the chance to pick a new plan.

If you move to a ZIP Code where another plan is now offered or a plan that was offered is no longer available, that’s a qualifying life event.

Marriage – Divorce – Adoption

You can add someone to your health plan if you get married, or if you have or adopt a child. Losing insurance coverage because of divorce also qualifies you to buy a new policy during a special enrollment period.

There are a few other special events that may trigger a special enrollment opportunity. To learn if you qualify for special enrollment email us directly or call 877-740-8683 and we will be happy to assist.

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