Getting Health Insurance

Why should you get health insurance? How will it help you save money? This section explains the benefits of getting covered and walks you through how to get started. Learn about the different types of plans as well as the different ways you might get insurance.

Topic Area: When things change

What is a qualifying life event?

Major life changes, known as qualifying life events, can allow you a special enrollment period to change your health plan outside of the standard open enrollment period or policy renewal date. If you have a qualifying life event, review your health insurance coverage to see if you, your spouse, or your dependent children need to make any changes.

The following are examples of qualifying life events:

  • Getting married or divorced
  • Having a baby
  • Adopting a child or placing a child for adoption or foster care
  • Losing job-based coverage, including resigning, getting laid off, or getting fired
  • Turning 26 and no longer eligible to be a dependent on a parent's insurance plan
  • Gaining United States citizenship
  • Losing other health coverage, e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
  • Death in the family
  • Change in residence to different plan coverage area

Visual summary of qualifying life events

Helpful Tips

Act quickly because you will have a limited time frame to make your changes.

  • 60 days to apply for an individual plan
  • Typically, 30 days to apply if you’re covered by an employer-based plan

You may need to provide documentation proving eligibility to enroll based on the life event. When you apply for new insurance, the plan will let you know what they need as documentation. Ultimately, you are responsible for tracking down any needed documents, such as a marriage license or birth certificate.

What is not a qualifying life event

Loss of coverage due to:

  • Failure to pay your premiums
  • Voluntarily dropped coverage
  • Failure to provide requested information

For other qualifying life event information, learn more  or Marketplace plan information


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