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What is a Qualifying Life Event?

March 31, 2016

Each year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individuals and families have the opportunity to add, change, adjust, or keep their health care plan during a specific timeframe call the Open Enrollment Period (OEP).  Since its inception in 2013, the OEP has been held from November through January. However, there are a few “life changes” that happen in adulthood that can affect your circumstances and in these times an individual or family has the option to change their insurance details. 

If you have a “life change” - also called a Qualifying Life Event - you may be able to get health insurance coverage outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period or make changes to your plan during the year if you act within 60 days of the event. This is called a Special Enrollment period.

Qualifying Life Events include: 
•    Getting married
•    Change in family size (birth, adoption, foster child)
•    Getting a divorce, legally separating or terminating a domestic partnership
•    New District resident (or moving to a new state)
•    Gaining citizenship or a lawful presence in the U.S.
•    Release from incarceration (jail or prison)
•    Losing health insurance (due to a change in job status, reaching the dependent age limit threshold of 26 years old)

At these critical stages in life it is more important than ever to make sure you have health insurance coverage.  In the District, all healthcare plans available to individual, family or small businesses can be obtained through 

The Open Enrollment Period does not apply to small businesses. A small business—50 or fewer full time employees—may enroll in new coverage at any point. 

For the most up-to-date information visit or email Jackie Ludden Nardelli at  Look for RAMW’s quarterly newsletter on health care and insurance topics called "A Healthy Business" released quarterly via RAMW.