What Is Special Enrollment Period (SEP)?

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

Special Enrollment Period allows you to enroll in health coverage outside of the annual open enrollment period if you experience certain life events, including losing health insurance coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, etc.

You usually have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan if you qualify for an SEP.

Who Is Eligible?

Check those qualifying life events below:

  • Got married
  • Had a baby, adopted a child or became a foster parent
  • Got divorced or became legally separated and lost health coverage
  • Lost your job and are no long covered
  • Lost or will lose COBRA coverage
  • Lost or will lose eligibility for Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Lost or will lose eligibility for Medicare
  • Someone on your plan has died
  • Moved to an area that requires you to enroll in a different plan than the one you had
  • Have been diagnosed with a major medical condition, were temporarily incapacitated, or experienced a natural disaster that kept you from enrolling during Open Enrollment
  • Are a victim of domestic abuse or violence, or spousal abandonment
  • Couldn’t enroll because a human error by an ACA enrollment representative or a technical error on the website
  • You gained membership in a federally recognized tribe or state as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
  • You became a U.S. citizen
  • You left incarceration
  • You are starting or ending service with AmeriCorps VISTA

What If You Miss OEP and Do Not Qualify for SEP?

You can still have health insurance coverage through a public program if your household income is low:

  • Medicaid, for low-income adults, enrolls year-round
  • CHIP, for low-income children, also enrolls year-round

Requirement for Medicaid and CHIP varies by state. Check your state guidelines before you make final decisions.

Check out our article ACA Special Enrollment Period: Do You Qualify? for more detailed information.

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About Dale Williams

Dale Q. Williams, MBA, is a well-respected financial executive whose experience spans from insurance to investment banking. Dale has first hand underwriting experience through working for one of the largest U.S. based insurance carriers, and advisory experience from working for several bulge-bracket and middle-market investment banks. Dale also received his MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business, with concentrations in finance and accounting.