Life changes are inevitable, and while many are planned, some come as a surprise. When significant changes occur that affect your health insurance coverage, they are considered a Qualifying Life Event, or QLE. With a QLE, you have the chance to enroll in a health insurance plan outside the insurance company’s annual open enrollment period.

Here are some of the most common QLEs that allow you, your spouse or your dependents to sign up for health insurance during a special enrollment period that is outside of the open enrollment period.

My Family Is Changing

When you get married, you can add your new spouse to your health insurance policy. Usually, the time frame for this is between 30 and 60 days of the wedding. The death of a spouse that results in losing your health insurance also qualifies.

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Adding a child, either by birth or adoption, is another QLE. You can add your new child to your health insurance after the delivery or when the adoption is finalized.

As your children grow up and leave the nest, that affects their health insurance coverage, too. When a dependent child turns 26, they age out of their parent’s coverage. They are then eligible to enroll in another plan.

My Employment Status Is Changing

Changing jobs means you won’t continue your current employer’s health insurance plan and therefore qualify for special enrollment. If your spouse’s employment status changes, that could be considered a QLE as well.

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Retirement is another circumstance that gives you special permission to sign up for health insurance outside the open enrollment period.

My Residency Or Citizenship Is Changing

If you become a U.S citizen or move to the United States from another country, you and your family will be able to enroll in a health insurance plan.

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Anyone who permanently moves to a different state will be able to classify their relocation as a QLE. While there are some events that do not qualify as a QLE, most of your life’s milestones won’t leave you or your family members without coverage.