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 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.

Magaly Olivero
Magaly Olivero

Written by Magaly Olivero

Magaly Olivero is an award-winning writer and has written for many national and regional media outlets, as well as corporate and nonprofit clients in the healthcare, tax and education industries. Her publishing credits include U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, The New York Times, Working Woman, Better Homes and Gardens and the Connecticut Health Investigative Team. Magaly is a recipient of a National Journalism Fellowship from the University of California Annenberg School of Communication and a Health Coverage Fellowship from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

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