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  • Writer's pictureSara Yuen

Special Enrollment 101

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

The health insurance market is a tricky one, especially when it comes to finding affordable plans. A recent survey reported that 48% of Americans have considered switching their coverage because they couldn’t afford the prices or deductible amounts on offer from current providers—and this number could be even higher for people without employer-sponsored benefits!

Special Enrollment Period 2021, SEP help, what is special enrollment, how. to qualify for special enrollment, qualifying life event

What is Special Enrollment?

Special Enrollment is a time outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period when you can sign up for health insurance. You qualify for the Special Enrollment Period if you’ve had a “qualifying life event”. Today we are going to be talking about what types of events need to occur for you to qualify for Special Enrollment, and what your other options are if you don’t qualify. 

If you are trying to shop for health insurance, you need to be aware of deadlines, to ensure that you will be covered. The 2021 Open Enrollment period runs from Sunday, November 1 to Tuesday, December 15, 2021. That means if you don’t act before December 15 you can’t get health insurance coverage for 2021 unless you qualify for Special Enrollment.

Qualifying life events include losing your health coverage due to an unforeseen circumstance such as a loss of employment, moving to another state that your insurance doesn’t service, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. Depending on your Special Enrollment Period type, you may have 60 days before or 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan. If you miss your Special Enrollment Period window, you may have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period to apply. You can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time of year if you’re eligible, whether you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or not. Job-based plans must provide a Special Enrollment Period of at least 30 days. 

What You Need to Know

Take a look at the chart below to see what type of events count as qualifying life events, how it works, and the eligibility documentation that needs to be included with your enrollment for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP).

*Information Sourced from*

Other Ways to Qualify

There may be other ways to qualify for SEP, Special Enrollment Period, that we have not listed in this article. If you think you have experienced an event that should qualify you for special enrollment, but aren’t positive, you need to contact at 1-800-318-2596 to make sure. Shopping for health insurance shouldn’t be a hassle. It’s our mission to make shopping and purchasing health insurance coverage as easy as possible. 

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