People who experience a qualifying life event can newly enroll in a health plan through Covered California even outside the open-enrollment period. Currently enrolled members who experience a qualifying life event can change their coverage or choose a new plan. This is called special enrollment.
Even if you only need coverage for a few months, look to Covered California throughout the year for your health insurance needs.
These are just some of the more common qualifying life events. Read more about special enrollment and qualifying life events.
Covered California can also determine, on a case-by-case basis, that you experienced an exceptional circumstance that could allow for a special-enrollment period.
Deadlines to Enroll After a Qualifying Life Event
You have 60 days from the date on which the qualifying life event happens to enroll in a Covered California health insurance plan or change their existing plan.
If 60 days pass and you do not sign up for health coverage, you will have to wait until the next open-enrollment period.
How to Enroll After a Qualifying Life Event
For many qualifying life events, you can enroll online. You can also call the Covered California Service Center at (800) 300-1506. Service Center representatives can answer any questions you have about a qualifying life event and can help you enroll in or change health insurance plans. Visit the find help page for more resources.
Start Dates and Avoiding Gaps in Coverage
You will need to plan ahead to avoid gaps in health coverage. In general, the start date for coverage depends on the date of enrollment. If you enroll by the 15th day of the month, coverage will start on the first day of the next month. If you enroll after the 15th day of the month, coverage will start on the first day of the second month. For example, if you enroll on April 10, coverage will start on May 1. If you enroll on April 16, coverage will start June 1.
There are a few exceptions to the regular start-date rule:
- For a loss of health coverage, such as losing Medi-Cal or job-based coverage, the new health plan would start on the first day of the next month following enrollment.
- If you get married and apply during the special-enrollment period, your new health plan would start on the first day of the next month following enrollment.
- If you have a child, adopt a child or place a child in adoption or foster care, and you use a special-enrollment period, you can choose to have coverage will start on the date of the birth, the adoption or the placement for adoption or foster care, or on the first day of the next month following enrollment.
Documents to Verify a Qualifying Life Event
Some consumers who apply for Covered California coverage in a special-enrollment period are asked to submit verification of their qualifying life event. If you receive a letter asking you to submit documents for your qualifying life event, check the Special Enrollment Acceptable Document List to select the right document to send to us.