Qualifying life events

What, exactly, is a qualifying life event?

A qualifying life event is a big life-changing situation — sometimes planned, sometimes unexpected — that can impact you and your health insurance. Experiencing a significant life change may allow you to change your health plan outside of the annual enrollment period (also called open enrollment).

Qualifying life events include (but are not necessarily limited to):1

  • Having or adopting a baby

  • Getting married

  • Moving to a new area

  • Experiencing a shift in employment status

  • Turning 26 

  • Getting divorced

  • Death of someone who shares your health plan

  • Earning U.S. citizenship

  • Turning 65

Sometimes Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) may be offered for additional qualifying reasons, such as natural disaster relief or pandemic relief. 

Types of qualifying life events

Many of life’s big moments may open the door to making changes to your health insurance coverage outside of the regular open enrollment period. Changes can most often be made either 30 or 60 days after the qualifying life event happens. 

If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, check your plan materials, contact your employer or call the phone number on your member ID card. Here's a little more about each event that might qualify. 

Are you turning 65?

Turning 65 is another moment in time that’s a qualifying life event. It gives you a chance to look into your opportunities for a Medicare plan.

If you experience a qualifying life event, sign up right away

In most situations, you’ll need to make changes to your health plan within a specific time frame of the qualifying life event. 

  • Changes can most often be made either 30 or 60 days after the qualifying life event happen
  • Missing this deadline could mean having to wait until the next open enrollment, which could be as long as a year

If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, check your plan materials, contact your employer or call the phone number on your member ID card.

Need a plan now, but haven’t experienced a qualifying life event?

If you’re between enrollment periods and haven’t experienced a qualifying life event, there are options, like short term insurance, to bridge the gap. That way, you can help assure that you’re not without insurance at any point.

Short term health insurance

Standard short term health insurance planscan help you fill a gap in coverage from 1 month to just under a year.3

Learn what types of health insurance are available

Get an overview of the different types of insurance to see which one may work best for you — both for right now and to be prepared for open enrollment time.

More insurance plans