You may not realize that major life changes can affect your insurance coverage. You may need to adjust your health plan or get a new one.
In many cases, a life event qualifies you for special enrollment. That means you can sign up for or change your coverage at the time of the event. You don’t have to wait for the annual open enrollment.
These are some of the big life events that will likely affect your health insurance coverage.
You will need to decide if your health plan meets the needs of your new family. If you both have health insurance, you may want to come together under one policy.
Expecting a Baby
Having a baby or adopting? Check your coverage. Find out what is covered before the big day and how and when to add the baby after he or she arrives.
Starting a Business
If you plan to run your own business with no employees, you probably want to get an individual policy. If you’ll have full-time employees (not contractors), you should look at offering a group plan.
Changes to Household Income
How much you pay for your health plan can change with your income. If you have coverage from a health insurance marketplace like HealthCare.gov, you will need to report changes in your income so the amount you pay for insurance can be adjusted.
Losing or Leaving Your Job
Losing your job is hard. And it may also mean you lose your health insurance. If this is something you’re facing, you have two choices. You can pay for an individual policy. Or you may be able to keep the plan you have through COBRA. COBRA lets you keep you and your family on your employer’s health plan for a limited time (usually 12-18 months) after you leave your job. You pay the full monthly premium, including the amount your employer used to pay.
When you turn 65, you become eligible for Medicare. This changes your insurance options and costs. Learn more about Medicare on our website.
Other Life Changes
There are various other reasons you may need to make some changes to your health insurance coverage. You may lose coverage under Medicaid, Medicare or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) due to certain changes in your life.
You may roll off a parent’s health plan when you turn 26. You may be going through a divorce. Or you may lose coverage if your parent or spouse dies and you were covered under their plan. Any of these life changes may qualify you for a new plan.
When life throws change your way, health insurance is probably the last thing on your mind. But it’s important.
Call us at the customer service number on your member ID card if you have questions about any of these situations. If customer service can’t help, they can tell you where to get answers.
Sources: Qualifying Life Events and Special Enrollment Periods for ACA Health Insurance, NerdWallet, 2017; How to make updates when your income or household changes, HealthCare.gov