Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

A time outside the yearly Open Enrollment Period when you can sign up for health insurance. You qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you’ve had certain life events, including losing health coverage, moving, 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, whether you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or not.

Job-based plans must provide a Special Enrollment Period of at least 30 days.

Life changes that can qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period:

Changes in household

You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you or anyone in your household in the past 60 days:

  • Got married. Pick a plan by the last day of the month and your coverage can start the first day of the next month.

  • Had a baby, adopted a child, or placed a child for foster care. Your coverage can start the day of the event — even if you enroll in the plan up to 60 days afterward.

  • Got divorced or legally separated and lost health insurance. Note: Divorce or legal separation without losing coverage doesn’t qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.

  • Died. You’ll be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period if someone on your Marketplace plan dies and as a result you’re no longer eligible for your current health plan.

Changes in residence

Household moves that qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period:

  • Moving to a new home in a new ZIP code or county

  • Moving to the U.S. from a foreign country or United States territory

  • If you're a student, moving to or from the place you attend school

  • If you're a seasonal worker, moving to or from the place you both live and work

  • Moving to or from a shelter or other transitional housing

Note: Moving only for medical treatment or staying somewhere for vacation doesn’t qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period.

Important: You must confirm you had qualifying health coverage for one or more days during the 60 days before your move. You don't need to provide confirmation if you’re moving from a foreign country or U.S. territory.

Loss of health insurance

You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you or anyone in your household lost qualifying health coverage in the past 60 days OR expects to lose coverage in the next 60 days.

Coverage losses that may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period:

Losing job-based coverage

Losing individual health coverage for a plan or policy you bought yourself

Losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP

Losing eligibility for Medicare

Losing coverage through a family member

An employer offer to help with the cost of coverage

You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you or anyone in your household newly gained access to an individual coverage HRA or a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) in the past 60 days OR expects to in the next 60 days.

Note: Your employer may refer to an individual coverage HRA by a different name, like the acronym “ICHRA.”

Generally, you’ll need to apply for and enroll in individual health insurance before your individual coverage HRA or QSEHRA starts. However, your employer may offer different options for when your individual coverage HRA or QSEHRA can start so you have more time to enroll. Contact them or check the notice you got from your employer for more information. If you’re currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan with savings, these savings may change because of the help you get through a job. Get more information on how your savings may change if you have an individual coverage HRA or QSEHRA offer.

If you qualify to enroll in Marketplace coverage through this Special Enrollment Period, call the Marketplace Call Center to complete your enrollment. You can’t do this online.

More qualifying changes

Other life circumstances that may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period:

  • Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder

  • Becoming newly eligible for Marketplace coverage because you became a U.S. citizen

  • Leaving incarceration

  • Starting or ending service as an AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA, or NCCC member