Special-Enrollment Period Due to Coronavirus Now Available

Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you can apply now for coverage if you are uninsured and eligible. You can also apply if you didn’t know about the new state penalty or new financial help available. Medi-Cal enrollment continues to be year-round. 

What is special enrollment?

People who experience a qualifying life event can newly enroll in a health plan through Covered California even outside the open enrollment period. People who already have a plan through Covered California who experience a qualifying life event can change their coverage or choose a new plan. 

Get Help Applying

You can apply online or call a Certified Insurance Agent, Navigator or our service center. You may experience longer than normal wait times due to the current circumstances, but we’re encouraging consumers to call and not seek in-person help. 

 

Avoid the Penalty

It’s now the law that most Californians must have health insurance or pay a penalty. We don’t want you walking out of the ER with thousands in medical bills, or in some cases, paying $2,000 for not having coverage.

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New Financial Help

Half a million have already found they can get state help to lower their premiums, often in addition to federal assistance — and they’re saving an average of $500 a month on their health insurance. It pays to check, so learn more about the new savings available.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Having health insurance is critical — now more than ever. During this time of national emergency, we know there are thousands of people affected by income changes, reduced hours and layoffs. Use the Shop and Compare Tool to see if you’re eligible. 

Other Qualifying Life Events

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

For most qualifying life events, 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 including certified agents and Navigators. 

Start Dates and Avoiding Gaps in Coverage

Your coverage start date will depend on your qualifying life event. 

For these life events, coverage will start on the first day of the month following enrollment: 

  • Needing coverage due to COVID-19. 
  • Learning about the new penalty or state subsidies. 
  • Losing Medi-Cal or job-based coverage. 
  • Marriage or registered domestic partnership. 

For the birth or adoption of a child, or acceptance of a child into foster care, your coverage starts on the first day of the month following the birth, adoption, or placement in foster care but you can choose to have coverage start on the date of the birth, adoption, or placement in foster care, or on the first day of the month following enrollment. 

For most other qualifying life events, 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 on June 1. 

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.