Open Enrollment is a time period every year when individuals and families can enroll in health insurance or change their coverage. Open Enrollment usually starts on November 1st and ends on January 31st ; if you are not able to complete your enrollment during that time, you might still be able to get coverage, if you meet the conditions for a Special Enrollment Period.
Outside of the yearly Open Enrollment Period, there are major life changes or special circumstances that enable you to be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). The SEP provides a 60-day window when you can enroll or change your health plan. If you miss that window, you may have to wait until the next Open Enrollment period for a chance to apply for coverage. If you are losing coverage, you can apply for a new plan as early as 60 days before your current insurance will end to avoid a potential gap in coverage.
If you experience a major change in your life, it could affect your coverage; these changes may include: marriage, birth, unemployment…etc., and are usually called Qualifying Life Events (QLE). When applying for coverage with a qualifying life event, you may be required to provide supporting documentation for your event; for example, a copy of your marriage certificate would be required when adding a spouse to your plan. There are different types of qualifying life events requiring different types of supporting documentation; continue below to learn more.