Life is always changing.

Sometimes you can prepare for major life changes, other times they just happen. You want to make sure you’re covered by a health plan that meets your changing needs.

Special enrollment period

Certain life changes may allow you to enroll in coverage outside of the open enrollment period. If you have a qualifying life event, you may be able to enroll in a health plan during a 60-day special enrollment period.

Qualifying life events for special enrollment

Following are some of the qualifying life events that may signal the opportunity to change your health plan or enroll in a new plan.

Getting married or divorced You have a chance to enroll in a new plan or choose a different plan that fits your needs.
Having a baby or adopting a child Choose a new plan that covers your growing family. Or, contact your health insurance plan to add your child to your health plan.
Moving to a new area If you move outside the service area of your health plan, you may be eligible for a new health plan with a network of providers close to home.
Loss of coverage under your parent’s plan When you turn 26, it’s time to graduate to your own health plan. This means you’re eligible to enroll during special enrollment.
Loss of job-based coverage If you lose your job-based coverage for any reason, you may be eligible to enroll during a special enrollment period.
Loss of other types of coverage If you lose eligibility for Medicaid or other types of coverage, or if your COBRA coverage expires, you can enroll in a new plan.
Gaining status as a member of an Indian tribe If you don’t have insurance through an employer, you may be able to enroll any time of year in a low- or no-cost plan through the Marketplace.
Gaining citizenship or lawful presence in the United States You don’t have to wait until open enrollment to get a health plan. You may be able to enroll during a special enrollment period.

Other changes and special circumstances

  • A change in income or household status may trigger special enrollment if your eligibility for financial help is affected. You may have the chance to review options and make a new choice.
  • You can apply for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time, all year.
  • Members of federally recognized tribes can enroll in coverage any time of year. There’s no limited enrollment period. Members can change plans as often as once a month. Learn more about benefits for Native Americans.

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