Become an Agent

9 Ways to Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period

Any great relationship starts with a conversation, so let’s start there.

If you’re like me you’ve procrastinated to get health insurance. You’re probably the guy who would have to be coughing up blood before you’d even think about making appointment with the doctor, right? Well, by that time, it’s unlikely to be during Open Enrollment. This time period from November 1st to January 31st is known as Open Enrollment, and it’s when insurance carriers would like for you to enroll in a plan.

However, if you’re deciding to get health insurance coverage outside of this time period, so from February 1st to October 31st, you’re going to need to qualify for a special enrollment. Qualifying for a special enrollment can happen under several circumstances, and they all involve fairly serious life changes, such as:

You’ve gotten married.

If you’re just now leaving the nest, your parents are looking for this reason to kick you off of their insurance and start using that money for their next vacation.

You’ve had a baby

…or your spouse has has had a baby. If you’re looking for a quick way to qualify for a special enrollment period, this one takes about 9 months (better get that bun in the oven).

Adopted a child

…or had a child placed with you for foster care.

Got divorced or legally separated and lost health insurance.

This circumstance may not include both spouses every time. If you’re the policyholder due to your employer offering coverage–you may be the one to reduce your coverage, while your ex- is the one qualifying for a new policy.

Changed your primary place of living

Including the following:

  • Moving 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.

*Moving only for medical treatment or staying somewhere for vacation doesn’t qualify you for a SEP.

Had a change in income.

Not all income changes will qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Even if you don’t qualify, you should update your application whenever your income changes. This way you’ll get the right savings based on your current income.


If someone on your health insurance plan dies and as a result you’re no longer eligible for your current plan.

Gained citizenship or lawful presence in the U.S.

Last weekend I witnessed my younger brother graduate from basic training. Part of the ceremony was having 9 members of his company swear into becoming US Citizens due to completing their first service obligation.

Released from incarceration (jail or prison).

While watching Making a Murderer on Netflix, the first thing Steven Avery didn’t do was enroll in a health insurance plan. Maybe his insurance agent could have given him wise advice and kept him out of prison a second time.

It’s important to know that if you’ve met any of these qualifying events, than you only have 60 days from the date of the event to enroll in coverage. If you haven’t met any of these events then you are still eligible to enroll in short-term insurance.