Special Enrollment Period

Open Enrollment ended on January 31st, 2016, meaning that the only way to buy health insurance for 2016, is to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment Periods are 60-day windows following certain life events, when you and your family can buy health insurance. Qualifying life events involve a change in family status or loss of other health coverage.


If you choose not to get coverage, you’ll have to pay a penalty, usually as a percentage of your household income or per person: whichever is higher.

Here is a list of reasons that qualify you for a special enrollment period:

Loss of Health Coverage

  • Lose or quit your job (and lose insurance as a result)
  • Separate from the military (if you or your dependents are ineligible for VA)
  • Employer stops offering insurance
  • COBRA expires
  • You turn 26 and lose coverage under your parent’s plan
  • Lose eligibility for CHIP/Medicaid

Changes in Household Size

  • Got married
  • Had a baby, adopted a child, or placed a child for foster care
  • Got divorced or legally separated and lost health insurance
  • Death

Changes in Residence

  • Move to a new home
  • A student moving to or from the place they attend school
  • A seasonal worker moving to or from the place they both live and work
  • Moving to or from a shelter or other transitional housing

Other Qualifying life events:

  • Changes in your income that affect the coverage you qualify for
  • Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
  • A seasonal worker moving to or from the place they both live and work
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen (or change immigration status)
  • Leaving incarceration (jail or prison)
  • AmeriCorps members starting or ending their service