What You Should Know About Your Insurance Enrollment Period

is it enrollment time

by Barbara Archer

The new health care reform laws and the health care exchange known as Covered California have changed some of the standard rules in the insurance industry. The following information has been compiled to help consumers better understand when they can make changes to their insurance and under what circumstances.

When Can I Make Changes?

In general, you can only make changes to or apply for health insurance during an annual open enrollment period. That is unless a triggering or qualifying event occurs, which allows you to make alterations to your health care insurance outside of the mandated time.

What is a Triggering Event?

A triggering event is when you find you need to make a change to your insurance plan, and cannot wait for an open enrollment period. This makes you eligible for a special enrollment period, which lasts for 60 days following the triggering event. Additionally, Covered California offers American Indians and Native Alaskans monthly eligibility for special enrollment.

Triggering events may include changes to:

  • Income that may affect your eligibility for federal tax credits
  • Employment status due to reduced hours, retirement, change in your weekly hours, commencement of employment, a strike or lockout, return from an unpaid leave of absence, Family Medical Leave Act, or similar situations that may impact your eligibility for health benefits
  • Dependent status due to coming of age, marriage or student status
  • Work location, which may be outside of the service area to one where no other group insurance coverage is available
  • COBRA coverage
  • Immigration status
  • The number of dependents you have due to births, adoptions, deaths and placement for adoption
  • Group insurance plans due to employers' delinquent premium payments.
  • Retirement coverage due to employers' declaration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • Benefits packages
  • Senior status, which occurs when the primary person covered by the health insurance or their partner turns 65.
  • Military status
  • Loss of coverage through no fault of your own
  • Legal status due to judgments, decrees or orders by the courts, marriage, or registering in a domestic partnership.
  • Location due to relocation or recent release from incarceration
  • Minimum coverage due to misinformation during the open enrollment period

To find out more about your health care options contact Barbara Archer at RGEB, (818) 444-7722, or email her at Barbara@rgeb4u.com.