Special Enrollment Period

Do you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period?

If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can enroll in health insurance outside the annual Open Enrollment period.

You qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if you’ve had certain life changes like getting married, having a baby, or losing job-based health insurance. These are called “qualifying life events.”

In addition to these events, if you had to pay a Tax Penalty this year for not having Health Care Coverage you may qualify for special enrollment. This Special Enrollment Period was put in to place to help consumers avoid Tax Penalties for not obtaining health insurance coverage this year.

You can qualify for a special enrollment period if any of the following applies to you:



wedding v2


  • Coverage can take effect: The first day of the month after you enroll
  • Enrollment window: Up to 60 days after your marriage. (You can’t enroll until after the marriage.)




Having a Child



turning 26


Turning 26 Years Old

  •  Aging off a parent’s coverage at 26



stop health careLosing Current Health Care Coverage

  • This could include losing a job-based plan, losing coverage through divorce, losing eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, and similar events:
  • Coverage can take effect: The first day of the month after you enroll and after the loss of coverage
  • Enrollment window: From 60 days before to 60 days after losing your other coverage Important: If you leave your job for any reason and lose your job-based health coverage, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. But you don’t get an SEP if you voluntarily drop: a job-based plan without leaving your job; an individual insurance plan; unexpired COBRA coverage; or any plan that doesn’t qualify as minimum essential coverage.


Illinois Map Affordable Care Act

New to Illinois

  • First time resident of Illinois
  • Returning to Illinois as a resident






Tax Penalty Chart

These are the penalties for not having health care coverage. The penalty is either calculated by a flat rate or a percentage of your taxable income, whichever is highest.


Tax penalty chart


Other qualifying life events

In addition to the situations above, the following life events also qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. But if they happen during Open Enrollment, your coverage can’t start any sooner than it would without an SEP.


Still have questions?


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Special Enrollment Period Form

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