Does your move to another state trigger a special health care enrollment period?

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While the deadline to buy health insurance on the Marketplace for 2016 has passed, people can still get coverage during other times of the year during a special enrollment period under certain circumstances, one of which being moving. Here’s what you need to know to determine if your move triggers a special enrollment period.

Moving to another state is one of the most common reasons cited for a special enrollment period to sign up for or switch health insurance plans. But the residency requirements for a “permanent move” special enrollment period recently changed on the Marketplace:

  • People who move to another state are eligible for a special enrollment period if they are living or intend to live in the new location and they have a job commitment or are looking for work. For example, retirees who spend up to six months in another state, such as Florida, qualify for a special enrollment period because they intend to reside in the state for half a year. Likewise, seasonal workers who spend four months in a different state also meet the residency requirement and are eligible for a special enrollment period when they move to the new state.
  • College students attending an out-of-state university may qualify for a special enrollment period if they establish residency in the new state. Otherwise, college students are considered residents of the state where their parents live and are not eligible for a special enrollment.

However, moving temporarily to a state for medical treatment at a hospital does not meet the residency standard nor does it trigger a special enrollment period because the absence is short-lived.

To apply for a special enrollment period, visit HealthCare.gov or your state’s online Health Insurance Marketplace.  Or, if you have moved for a new job, make sure you look into your employer’s coverage options when you start.