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Some Facts about the Special Enrollment Period

Now that February 15 is past, the Open Enrollment Period for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act is over. For most people, if they did not buy during the Open Enrollment Period (or the Extra Enrollment Period), they will not be able to do so again until the next OEP at the end of 2015–and that will be for 2016 coverage.

HCgov_SEP_graphicBut if life throws you a curve ball, or you experience some other life change that affects your current health care status, you shouldn’t worry. That’s what the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) is all about.

According to HHS, the Special Enrollment Period is a time outside of the open enrollment period during which you and your family have a right to sign up for health coverage. One qualifies for a special enrollment period 60 days following certain life events that involve a change in family status or loss of other health coverage. Job-based plans must provide a special enrollment period of 30 days.

These “events” include–but are not necessarily limited to–the following. In most circumstances, the Special Enrollment Period starts is usually the date that the prior minimal essential coverage (under the prior circumstances) was lost:

  • Termination of employment.
  • Reduction of work hours.
  • Divorce or legal separation.
  • Death of a spouse or parent (where the deceased was the source of the coverage).
  • Dependent reaching limiting age.
  • Loss of qualification for Medicaid or CHIP.
  • Expiration of COBRA benefits.
  • Marriage.
  • Birth of a child.
  • Adoption
  • Moving to a new state.

Other conditions also apply. The simplest, easiest, and least expensive way to find out if your circumstances make you eligible for the SEP is to contact an independent broker at (614) 336-3636.

Why use a broker?  The answer is simple:

  • You’re getting a trained and experienced expert to do all the work for you (imagine how much time that saves)…
  • to help you make the most informed decision (how many times have you had buyer’s regret due to bad information?)…
  • all at absolutely NO EXTRA COST to you (Really? Need we say anything more?).

To have knowledge and guidance is to be empowered. We welcome the chance to empower you. We can also be found on many of the social media sites: Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

matt_81x106Matthew Byrne has made a career helping people find affordable health insurance in Ohio. He is the founder of, a Dublin-based brokerage providing Ohio health insurance quotes and services for individuals, families and corporations. Mr. Byrne is a subject matter expert speaking frequently about Health Care Reform, Defined Contribution Programs, COBRA, and Medicare. He can be reached at (614) 336-3636, and online at

Need a Health Reform Speaker? Find Matt on COPEC!

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