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Special Enrollment Period or Qualifying Event

Some life changes trigger what is called a "special enrollment" period. Special enrollment lets you get or change your health coverage outside of open enrollment. The special enrollment period lasts 31 days from the date of a triggering event for a qualified individual or their dependents.

Examples of Qualifying Life Events

A change in your household size

  • Getting married
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child or placing a child for adoption or foster care
  • Death of family member (causing you to lose eligibility in your current plan)

Losing your health coverage

  • Losing job-based coverage for any reason, including resigning, getting laid off, or getting fired
  • Expiration of COBRA coverage
  • Losing coverage under your parents' plan at age 26
  • Getting divorced or legally separated (resulting in loss of coverage)
  • Losing eligibility for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Note: Losing coverage that doesn't qualify as minimum essential coverage doesn't qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.

A change in circumstance

  • Permanently moving outside your plan's coverage area
  • A change in income (affecting eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions)

A change in status

  • Gaining citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.