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Open Enrollment is Over! What Now?

woman with question markAs of January 31, Covered California’s annual Open Enrollment period is closed. That means if you want to add health insurance coverage, or make changes to your existing plan, you will have to wait until Open Enrollment begins again this fall.

But what happens if you experience a life change, and need insurance – or a change to your insurance – outside of the Open Enrollment period? Luckily, Covered California also offers a Special Enrollment period just for you. If you experience one of these qualifying life events at any time during the year, you can enroll in, or make changes to, a health insurance plan.

A new child joins your family. If you welcome a new member of your family through birth, adoption, or foster care, you can purchase a health insurance policy or make changes to your existing policy.

You partner up. If you get married or enter into a domestic partnership, you and your spouse qualify for the special enrollment period.

You reach your 26th birthday. You can stay on your parents’ health insurance policy until you turn 26 years old. At that point, you have to enroll in your own plan.

You lose your health insurance. If you lose health coverage through your employer, or if you become ineligible for Medi-Cal, you can apply for coverage through Covered California.

Your income changes. If a change in income also necessitates a change in your subsidy, you can make the necessary changes during a special enrollment period. This rule applies if you are newly eligible for a subsidy, no longer eligible, or you’re now eligible for a larger subsidy than you received before.

A change in residency. If you have just moved into the state of California, you can apply for health insurance through Covered California.

Your legal residency status changes. Becoming a citizen, national, or lawfully present person qualifies you for a special enrollment period.

You get out of jail or prison. You can apply for health insurance upon your release.

You are a member of a federal recognized Alaska Native or American Indian tribe. You are not subject to the same enrollment periods; you can enroll in health insurance or make changes to your plan once per month, at any time of the year.

Exceptional circumstance. Covered California will decide on a case-by-case basis whether you qualify for a special enrollment period.

If any of these qualifying life events apply to you, you qualify for a special enrollment period for health insurance. Take note that your enrollment period only lasts for 60 days from the date of the event. Act fast, and if you have any questions or require assistance, please call our office for more information.