11 Qualifying Events for Health Insurance Changes (After Open Enrollment)

Open enrollment is the time each year consumers typically change their health benefits. But life, itself, happens outside of a 2-3 week window.

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A change in martial status can qualify you to change your health covereage

Several events – both those that are anticipated and those that aren’t – can qualify you for a “change in life” status that allows you to change your health insurance. Note that many plans require you to submit life-status requests within 60 days of a qualifying event.

These events include:

1. Change in marital status


Divorce, annulment or legal separation

Death of a spouse

2. Change in number of children

Birth or adoption of a child

Child gains or loses eligibility under a plan – often for school status, marital status or age

Death of child

Placement of child for adoption

3. Change in your job or your spouse’s

Being fired or laid off

Taking or returning from a leave of absence


Some working condition shifts, such as moving from full- to part-time, salary to hourly

Transfers and returns from overseas

4. Change in Residence

Coverage is no longer available in the new area

5. Judgments

Being court ordered to add a child to your insurance 

6. Return from active military duty

7. Release from jail or incarceration

8. Becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident

9. Joining a Native American tribe

Members of a federally recognized American Indian tribe can enroll at any time and change plans once per month.

10. Loss of COBRA coverage

COBRA allows families that lose their benefits because of a change in work status keep their health coverage for a limited period of time.

11. Eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid

If you turn 65 or if your income falls under a certain threshold, you may qualify for health insurance through the government

If you have a life event not listed, you should still contact your health plan or your health care marketplace to see if you are eligible.