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What is a qualifying life event?
It’s important to know what a qualifying life event is, especially after the March 31st deadline for enrolling in health insurance. Once that deadline passes, you will not be able to purchase a plan until the next open enrollment period begins in the fall of 2014 unless you experience a qualifying life event.
The following are qualifying life events:
- You involuntarily lose your eligibility for the coverage you previously had. This may occur because you:
- lose your dependent status (for instance, by “aging off” a parent’s plan when you turn 26)
- exhaust your COBRA coverage
- no longer meet the requirements for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program
- You gain a dependent (for example, by getting married, giving birth or adopting a child)
- You get divorced or legally separated
- You move to another state or outside your health plan’s service area
If you originally bought your insurance through the health insurance marketplace, the following also count as qualifying life events:
- Your income increases or decreases enough to change your eligibility for a subsidy
- Your immigration status changes
- There was an error made by the marketplace or another government agency, or by someone acting on their behalf, regarding your enrollment or your eligibility for a subsidy
If you experience one of these qualifying life events, it will trigger a special enrollment opportunity that lasts 60 days from the date of the event. Note that if your insurance plan is cancelled because you failed to pay the premium, your loss of coverage is not a qualifying life event and will not trigger a special enrollment opportunity.