The Basics

Special Enrollment

The way to enroll in coverage outside of Open Enrollment
Catch Can HelpIf you've experienced a qualifying life event that allows you to get insurance outside Open Enrollment, Catch can help you get covered and save money.
tl;drSpecial Enrollment is a period when you can enroll in health insurance outside of Open Enrollment, if you have experienced a life event that changes your insurance needs. Think you qualify? Catch can find you a plan and maximize your savings.

If you want to change or enroll in a new health insurance plan outside of Open Enrollment, you have to qualify for Special Enrollment.

How do you qualify? You must experience what's called a Qualifying Life Event (QLE), and you generally have 60 days following the event to enroll in a new plan.

Catch can help you file the necessary paperwork to qualify for Special Enrollment and make sure that you also maximize your savings on a new plan.

Do I qualify for Special Enrollment?

Below are a list of Qualifying Life Events that can make you eligible:

Changes in household

  • Getting married, divorced, or legally separated
  • Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child in foster care
  • Death of a family member on your health insurance plan

Changes in primary residence

  • Moving to a new home in a new ZIP code or county
  • Moving to the U.S. from a foreign country or United States territory
  • If you're a student, moving to or from the place you attend school
  • If you're a seasonal worker, moving to or from the place you both live and work
  • Moving to or from a shelter or other transitional housing Note: You must confirm you had qualifying health coverage for one or more days during the 60 days before your move.

Other changes

  • Loss of insurance
  • Loss of job-based coverage
  • Loss of individual coverage
  • Losing eligibility for CHIP, Medicaid, or Medicare
  • Losing coverage through a family member
  • Gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
  • Becoming newly eligible for Marketplace coverage because you became a U.S. citizen
  • Leaving incarceration
  • Starting or ending service as an AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA, or NCCC member

Additionally, you can enroll in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) any time of year, whether you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period or not.

Why can't I just enroll in health insurance whenever I want?

The idea behind having a brief window for Open Enrollment is that if anyone could get health insurance whenever they wanted, then no one would get it when they were healthy, and everyone would get it when they got sick or injured.

That would be bad news for insurance companies, who would only have customers who were hurt (ie, expensive). The dynamic could affect all kinds of insurance. Imagine if people only bought flood insurance during a flood. Flood insurance providers would quickly go out of business.