Qualifying life events: Special signups

Some uninsured people who didn’t sign up for healthcare coverage by the Jan. 31 deadline still can enroll, assuming they’ve experienced what’s called “qualifying life events.”

sign up for obamacareThese events include getting married, having or adopting children, losing previous coverage, moving to an area covered by different insurance carriers, or becoming a U.S. citizen (or gaining status as a “lawfully present individual”). Young adults who turn 26 and are no long able to remain on their parents’ healthcare plans also qualify.

Enrollment then is permitted via “Special Enrollment Periods.”

Nationally, it’s estimated, as many as 4 million people lose their health insurance because of job loss or a change in employment terms.

Moving is the most common source of qualifying events among the currently uninsured, according to the group Enroll America. The state’s Obamacare operation says this is when consumers “gain access to new Covered California health insurance plans.” This includes moving to California. (It also applies to people released from jail or prison.)

Exemptions from the main deadlines also could be made due the wake of errors in the original enrollment process that are the fault of Covered California or its authorized counselors. There also is a general loophole that health exchange officials can apply “on a case-by-case basis.”

Nationwide, “7 million consumers might have the opportunity to get covered even now through a special enrollment period,” says Enroll America chief Anne Filipic.

The group estimates about 7 percent of the nation’s uninsured will become eligible for a special signup due to life events.

In California, consumers have 60 days from the date of the qualifying life event to enroll in a health insurance exchange plan or to change your existing plan. If the 60 days pass, the next possible signup will be during the open enrollment period.

In most cases, enrollments before the 15th of the month take effect on the 1st of the next month. If you have a child, coverage starts on the date of the birth (or adoption).

Read the Covered California information page on special enrollments.