As of 2019, about 92 percent of people in the U.S. had some form of health insurance. However, when life changes unexpectedly, you may need to modify your health insurance plan to ensure it suits your needs and circumstances. The good news is that you do not have to wait for the Open Enrollment Period to make changes to your health plan. So what are some qualifying life events for health insurance change?
Here’s what to know.
LOSS OF HEALTH COVERAGE
Certain loss of coverage events will affect your health insurance needs, making it necessary to modify your existing health insurance coverage or sign up for a new plan. Below are a few.
- Aging out of your parents’ insurance plan when you turn 26 years old. To avoid being uninsured, you have to find your own health insurance coverage.
- Losing job-based coverage when you leave your current employment either voluntarily or involuntarily. Other qualifying life events are loss of individual and student plans.
- Being denied or losing coverage for Medicare, Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP)
- Losing your current health insurance for any other reason apart from failure to pay the required premiums
CHANGES IN HOUSEHOLD
A major shift in your family life can present an opportunity to update your health insurance coverage. This is why you should be aware of family changes that are considered qualifying life events. They include:
- Getting married. Newlyweds have an opportunity to either update or choose a new health insurance plan as a couple.
- Having a baby, adopting a child or taking in a foster child will impact your health insurance needs. To protect your eligible dependents, you should change your current health plan.
- Divorce and legal separation can affect different aspects of your life. Experiencing one of these qualifying events allows you to get the right health insurance plan for your new family structure, budget and needs.
- The death of a family member on your health insurance policy. This life-shattering event can result in the loss of your health coverage, allowing you to get a new health plan.
CHANGES IN RESIDENCE
Changing where you live can affect your current health insurance plan. Your existing coverage may not be available in the new location or there may be new plans to consider. This will require you to select a suitable plan that will protect both you and your dependents. A change in address can occur if:
- You move to a different health plan area. This could be a new county or state where your existing coverage is not offered.
- You are a seasonal worker, moving to and from your work location. Alternatively, you could move your home for seasonal work.
- You are a student who moves to and from the place where you attend school.
- You move in or out of a shelter or other transitional housing
OTHER QUALIFYING EVENTS
There are certain special circumstances that will qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. Understanding these qualifying events will go a long way in ensuring you are adequately protected. You can change your health insurance or buy new coverage under the following circumstances.
- Changes in income that affect the coverage you are eligible for
- Becoming a U.S. citizen
- Release from incarceration
- Your spouse changes jobs or retires, causing you to lose coverage
- AmeriCorps members beginning or ending their service
- When you turn 65, you have a chance to consider enrolling for Medicare
At the end of the day, you have to understand how a qualifying life event works. If you are not sure whether your life-changing situation is a qualifying life event, we are here to help. HST is a wholly owned subsidiary of the National General Insurance Group and the Allstate Insurance Company. Our friendly agents will help you understand your health insurance plan and navigate through the process. Contact us today to learn more.