If you want to buy a new health insurance plan, typically you need to wait until open enrollment begins in the fall season. However, there are “special enrollment” periods that allow certain individuals and their dependents to get a new health plan in other months of the year, as long as you apply for health insurance coverage within 60 days of the “qualifying event.”
Qualifying events include obvious reasons, such as getting laid off or fired from a job, having a baby, or experiencing the death of someone whose health insurance plan you depended on for your own coverage. However, there are other, lesser-known events that could make you eligible for special health insurance enrollment, including:
You Quit Your Job
You probably already know that you can access the special enrollment period if you get fired or laid off, but did you know that quitting your job and subsequently losing job-based coverage also qualifies you for the special enrollment timeframe?
This means you don’t have to feel stuck in your current job until you’re able to quit and get your own health insurance plan when the open enrollment period begins – you can quit when you’re ready and submit documents verifying the end of your job to access a new health insurance plan at any time during the year (as long as you file within 60 days of quitting).
This rule also applies to your spouse. If you are reliant on your spouse’s health insurance plan and they get fired, laid off or quit their job, then you would both qualify for special enrollment if no other employer-sponsored options exist for either of you.
Health Insurance for Your Adopted Child
Birth parents aren’t the only ones who get to take advantage of special enrollment periods – adoptive parents get the same benefits by acquiring a new health insurance plan for themselves and their newly adopted child(ren) throughout the year. You have 60 days to acquire coverage during this special timeframe, but fortunately, you can schedule your coverage to begin the day you signed the adoption papers to ensure you and your dependents are always covered.
Losing Medicaid Eligibility
If you previously relied on Medicaid because your current job does not offer health insurance to employees, you’re a part-timer or you’re self-employed, then you shouldn’t have to worry about getting a pay raise or new side job that pushes your income over the maximum allowed for Medicaid recipients.
If you lose Medicaid eligibility at any point during the year, then you could qualify for special enrollment in your own health insurance plan by submitting the appropriate documents to confirm your eligibility.
Getting your own health insurance after losing Medicaid eligibility offers so much more peace of mind than the option of forgoing insurance entirely, so be sure to take advantage of lower health premiums by getting a head start on your special enrollment paperwork as soon as you realize you may lose Medicaid eligibility due to your higher income bracket.
You Became a U.S. Citizen
Last but not least, green card holders and other folks who are on the track to receiving citizenship in the United States may qualify for special enrollment if you become a citizen before open enrollment season begins in fall.
This is important to note, as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security points out that over 750,000 people became naturalized citizens in 2016 alone, which means there are approximately 700,000 people who become eligible for new health insurance in the U.S. each year. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to get a great health plan in addition to your new citizenship papers!
Get the Best Health Insurance in Utah
Open enrollment begins on November 1st this year, so even if you don’t qualify for special enrollment through any of the aforementioned eligibility criteria, you can get a great new health plan for yourself and your family between November 1 and December 15.
Don’t miss out on this limited opportunity to discover what affordable health insurance plans are available to you. We can help you every step of the way, so be sure to visit our website for more information on comparing health insurance policies, choosing a health plan, and strategies for lowering your monthly health insurance premiums.