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Qualifying Life Events May Make You Eligible for Obamacare after Open Enrollment

Qualifying Life Events May Make You Eligible for Obamacare after Open Enrollment

Posted Feb 12, 2015 by Author

The clock was ticking. The alarm has now sounded.

The 2015 open enrollment period started November 15, 2014 and ended February 15, 2015. During that time, you could use the marketplace to apply for and enroll in Obamacare coverage, if you qualified for it.

It’s now past the deadline. If you did not sign up for Obamacare, you will need to wait until the 2016 open enrollment period, which runs October 15, 2015 through December 7, 2016…unless you have a qualifying life event.

A qualifying life event—such as a marriage, having a baby, or losing job-based health insurance—may render you eligible for a special enrollment period. This period allows you to:

  • Sign up for health insurance outside the annual open enrollment period; and
  • Have your coverage begin sooner than the date the next enrollment period begins.

Here are some qualifying life events, with coverage start times and sign-up details:

Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child for adoption

  • Coverage can take effect: The day of the event
  • Enrollment window: Up to 60 days after the event

Getting married

  • Coverage can take effect: The first day of the month after you enroll
  • Enrollment window: Up to 60 days after your marriage. (You can’t enroll until after the marriage.)

Losing other health coverage (this could include losing a job-based plan, aging off a parent’s coverage at 26, losing coverage through divorce, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, and similar events)

  • Coverage can take effect: The first day of the month after you enroll and after the loss of coverage
  • Enrollment window: From 60 days before to 60 days after losing your other coverage.

Important: If you leave your job for any reason and lose your job-based health coverage, you qualify for a special enrollment period. But you don’t get a special enrollment period if you voluntarily drop: a job-based plan without leaving your job; an individual insurance plan; unexpired COBRA coverage; or any plan that doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage [http://www.healthedeals.com/health-care-reform-aca]

Being denied Medicaid or CHIP coverage

  • Coverage can take effect: The first day of the month after you enroll
  • Enrollment window: Up to 60 days after the denial

Other qualifying life events:

The following life events also qualify you for a special enrollment period. But if they happen during open enrollment, your coverage can’t start any sooner than it would without a special enrollment period.

Life events like these can involve disruption. “I think the important thing for people to remember is that you (generally) have only 60 days to act, so don’t forget,” says IHC Specialty Benefits, dba HealtheDeals Insurance Solutions’ Chief Operating Officer Brian Dow. “When an event like this happens, it’s a very stressful time of your life, but you can’t forget about your health insurance when you go through it. “

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