During open enrollment, you can sign up for health coverage or switch plans for any reason. If you don’t enroll during this period, you won’t get another chance to sign up until the next open enrollment — unless you have a qualifying life event. Keep reading to learn more about qualifying life events and how they affect your ability to obtain health insurance in Florida.

Qualifying Life Events

A qualifying life event is a change in your situation that makes you eligible to enroll in a health plan outside the normal enrollment period. These events fall into four categories:

  • Loss of coverage
  • Changes in your residence
  • Changes in your household
  • Additional qualifying events

Loss of Health Insurance Coverage

Loss of coverage is when you lose your health insurance for some reason. For example, if you no longer meet the financial eligibility criteria for Medicaid, you’ll have to sign up for a different type of health insurance in Florida. It’s also common for people to lose their health insurance when they change jobs or their employers go out of business.

Changes in Your Residence

If you move to a different state or even a different ZIP code within your current state, you may lose eligibility for your current coverage. For example, if you signed up for coverage on California’s health insurance exchange, you won’t be able to keep that coverage if you move to Florida.

Changes in Your Household

Marriage, divorce, adoption and death are all qualifying events based on household changes. If you get married, you may need to join your new spouse’s health plan or add them to your insurance. When you adopt a child, you need to add them to your existing plan or search for a new plan that covers everyone in the household. This can affect your ability to find affordable health insurance in Florida.

Additional Qualifying Events

These events may also make you eligible for a special enrollment period:

  • Income changes that affect your eligibility for private insurance, Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Returning home from jail or a community corrections program
  • Changes in your citizenship status
  • Starting or ending service in AmeriCorps
  • Becoming a shareholder of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
  • Joining a federally recognized tribe

Explore Your Florida Health Insurance Options

If you live in Florida, you have several options for health insurance, including employer-sponsored coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and coverage through Florida Health Choices. Under the Affordable Care Act, an insurance company can’t deny your application just because you have a pre-existing health condition, so you have more coverage options than ever before.

At Thomas & Associates, we have experienced brokers available to help you choose the right plan for your family. Call (904) 730-3900 to request a free quote and learn more about health insurance in Florida.