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