Special Enrollment Period
Californians Affected by the Pandemic Can Still Apply for Coverage
During this time of national crisis, we know that thousands of people are affected by income and job loss, leaving many Californians without health insurance. To get covered, call us at (800) 650-0922 to see if you’re eligible.
Special Enrollment for Wildfire Victims
In response to the wildfires raging across the state, Covered California announced a new category for special enrollment. You can now apply for health insurance outside of open enrollment if you’ve been affected by wildfires. Call us at (800) 650-0922 to see if you’re eligible.
What is Special Enrollment?
People who a Qualifying Life Event (QLE) can newly enroll in a health plan through Covered California even outside the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). People who already have a plan through Covered California who experience a QLE can change their coverage or choose a new plan.
Get Help Applying
You can call our certified insurance agents at (800) 650-0922, or visit us in person at one of our locations in Los Angeles and Orange County. Due to current circumstances for safety, we're encouraging consumers to call and not seek in-person help.
Other Qualifying Life Events
You lose Medi-Cal coverage.
You lose your employer-sponsored coverage.
Your COBRA coverage is exhausted. (Note: Not paying your COBRA premium is not considered loss of coverage.)
You are no longer eligible for student health coverage.
You turn 19 years old and are no longer eligible for a child-only plan.
You turn 26 years old and are no longer eligible for a parent’s plan. If your parent has coverage through Covered California, you can stay in their plan until coverage ends on Dec. 31, even if you turn 26 mid-year. If your parent has a job-based plan, you qualify for a special-enrollment period to buy health insurance. Your special-enrollment period starts 60 days before you lose coverage and ends 60 days after.
You move to California from out of state.
You move within California and gain access to at least one new Covered California health insurance plan.
This category also applies to individuals who are released from jail or prison.
You recently got married or entered into a domestic partnership.
One or both members of the new couple can use the special-enrollment period to enroll in coverage.
Had a Baby
Returned from Active Duty Military Service
You have lost coverage after leaving active duty, reserve duty, or the California National Guard.
Released from Jail or Prison
You were recently released from incarceration (jail or prison).
Gained Citizenship/Lawful Presence
You become a citizen, national, or permanent legal resident.
Federally Recognized American Indian/Alaska Native
If you are a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe, you can enroll at any time and change plans once per month.
Other Qualifying Life Event
You are already enrolled in a Covered California plan and become newly eligible or ineligible for tax credits or cost-sharing reductions.
You are already enrolled in a Covered California plan and you lose a dependent or lose your status as a dependent due to divorce, legal separation, dissolution of domestic partnership, or death.
Misconduct or misinformation occurred during your enrollment
Misrepresentation or erroneous enrollment
- Your health plan violated its contract
- You have a non-calendar year health plan (including “grandfathered” and “non-grandfathered” health insurance plan) outside of Covered California that has expired or will soon expire, and you would like to switch to a Covered California health insurance plan instead of renewing your current plan.
- You lose “share of cost” Medi-Cal coverage by reaching your share of cost.
You received a certificate of exemption for hardship from Health and Human Services for a month or months during the coverage year but lost eligibility for the hardship exemption outside of an open enrollment period. You and your dependents, if any, are victims of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment (please select "Other qualifying life event" in the drop-down menu and "Single" or "Head of Household" in the "Personal Data-Tax Information" section of the application). You are required by court order to provide health insurance for a child who was been determined ineligible for Medi-Cal and CHIP, even if you are not the party who expects to claim the child as a tax dependent. You lose “share of cost” Medi-Cal coverage by reaching your share of cost.
- You are a member of AmeriCorps/VISTA/National Civilian Community Corps.
- Your provider left the health plan network while you were receiving care for one of the following conditions.
An acute condition
A serious chronic condition
The care of a newborn child between birth and age 36 months
A surgery or other procedure that will occur within 180 days of the termination or start date.
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
You can call our certified insurance agents at (800) 650-0922, or visit us in person at one of our locations in Los Angeles and Orange County. Due to current circumstances, we're encouraging consumers to call and not seek in-person help.
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.
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.