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One way or another, we’ve all been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Whether impacting you, a family member, or your workplace, the severity of the pandemic has closed down businesses, created panic, and put stress on our home lives. Understandably, this is naturally one of the worst times to lose health insurance—but as noted, with businesses facing challenges bringing in money, you may find yourself without coverage when you need it most.

If this is the case, you may qualify for a special Qualifying Life Event.

What Are Qualifying Life Events?

Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, those looking to enroll for health coverage on the insurance marketplaces must do so during Open Enrollment, the yearly period when people can enroll in a health insurance plan. However, special circumstances can allow you to enroll outside of these periods.

These circumstances, called Qualifying Life Events, represent a change in someone’s situation that allows them to become eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, allowing someone to enroll in health insurance within a certain timeframe after such event happens.

Traditional Qualifying Life Events

Normally, this is limited to four categories—loss in coverage, changes in household, changes in residence, and other circumstances listed below:

  • Loss in Coverage: Losing existing job-based, individual, and student health coverage, losing eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP, or losing health coverage after turning 26.
  • Changes in Household: Getting married or divorced, having a baby or adopting a child, death in the family.
  • Changes in Residence: Moving to a different ZIP code or county, a student moving to or from the place they attend school, a seasonal worker moving to or from the place they both live and work, moving to or from a shelter or other transitional housing
  • Other Qualifying Life Events: Changes in income, gaining membership in a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder, becoming a U.S. Citizen, leaving incarceration, or beginning/ending AmeriCorps service.

However, in light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many citizens—even those considered ineligible to enroll under one of the circumstances listed above—now have the ability to enroll for coverage under an emergency Special Enrollment Period.

COVID-19 Emergency Special Enrollment Period

As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, certain medical carriers are offering special enrollment periods for groups.

But time is of the essence, as the timeframe to apply under this emergency QLE is limited, with some periods ending this month.

Losing your insurance during a pandemic is one of the most fear-inducing events that can happen, and in the event you do end up needing medical services, costs for everything from testing to hospitalization can skyrocket—uninsured patients could expect to pay at least $500-$1,000 just to get tested for the virus, and a 10-day hospital stay could amount to a bill of at least $75,000, according to CNBC.

Regardless of Your Situation, You Have Options

That said, you do have options. Whether you are eligible to enroll as a result of lost coverage, need to apply under the emergency Qualifying Life Event, need COBRA, or are seeking short-term health coverage, it pays to have someone in your corner who knows how to help.

Shopping for insurance used to be confusing and time-consuming. But with the help of our national network of licensed brokers, it doesn’t have to be. Insurance Broker Hub has helped over 10,000 consumers find the coverage they need at a price they can afford.

Our free service gives you access to an independent network of national brokers who have the experience and expertise to design a plan around your needs and budget. Ready to get started? Simply request a no obligation health insurance quote here.