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Shopping for Health Insurance Outside the Open Enrollment Period

insurance conceptDid you miss Covered California’s Open Enrollment period? Or have you experienced a change in circumstances which creates a need for a new health insurance policy? Normally, you can only enroll in a health insurance plan during the Open Enrollment period from November 15 to February 15. But if you have experienced a qualifying life event, you can enroll in a health insurance plan now.

Some examples of common qualifying life events are:

  • You turned 26 and can no longer stay on your parents’ health insurance plan.
  • You lost your health insurance coverage, either because you lost your job, you’re no longer eligible for Medi-Cal, or certain other qualifying reasons.
  • You have just moved to California from another state.
  • You got married, or have entered into a domestic partnership.
  • You just had a baby, adopted a child, or accepted a child placed into foster care.
  • You have just been released from jail or prison.
  • You are a member of a recognized Alaska Native or American Indian tribe. In this case you can enroll in a health insurance plan or change plans once per month, at any time of the year.
  • You have newly become a citizen, a national, or “lawfully present”.

In certain other cases, Covered California may determine that you experienced exceptional circumstances. You would then qualify for a special enrollment period, during which you could enroll in or change your health insurance policy.

You have 60 days from the time of the qualifying event to enroll in a health insurance plan. If you wait beyond that 60-day period, you must wait until the regular Open Enrollment season this fall. Remember that you may have a pay a tax penalty if you fail to enroll in an appropriate health insurance plan during the year. For more information about enrolling in health coverage outside of the normal Open Enrollment period, contact Covered California or your licensed insurance agent.