Avoiding Health Insurance Coverage Gaps When Moving

Losing health insurance coverage, even for a short period, can be a stressful experience. Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides special enrollment periods (SEPs) that allow you to enroll in a new health plan outside of the regular open enrollment period if you experience certain qualifying life events, including moving.

What is a Special Enrollment Period (SEP)?

An SEP is a time outside the annual open enrollment period when you are eligible to enroll in or change your health insurance plan. SEPs are typically triggered by specific life events, such as moving to a new state or losing employer-sponsored health insurance.

Qualifying for an SEP Due to Moving

To qualify for an SEP due to moving, you must meet the following criteria:

You have moved to a new state or county that is not served by your current health plan.
You do not have other health insurance coverage, such as through an employer or a government program like Medicare or Medicaid.
You apply for a new health plan within 60 days of your move.

How to Apply for an SEP

To apply for an SEP, you can contact a licensed health insurance agent or visit the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov. You will need to provide proof of your move, such as a driver’s license or utility bill with your new address.

What if You Miss the SEP Deadline?

If you miss the 60-day deadline for applying for an SEP, you may still be able to enroll in a health plan, but you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Preventing Coverage Gaps

To avoid coverage gaps when moving, it is important to plan ahead and take the following steps:

Notify your current health plan of your move as soon as possible.
Research health plans available in your new location and compare costs and coverage.
Apply for a new health plan within 60 days of your move.
If you miss the SEP deadline, contact a licensed health insurance agent or the Health Insurance Marketplace to discuss your options.

Moving can be a stressful time, but losing health insurance coverage doesn’t have to be one of the stresses. By understanding the SEP process and taking the necessary steps, you can ensure that you have continuous health insurance coverage throughout your move.

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