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Qualifying for a Special Enrollment Period

Dec 16, 2020
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Open enrollment has ended for individuals and families. There are many events or circumstances, however, that may allow you to enroll in a 2021 health plan by qualify for a Special Enrollment Period

A Special Enrollment Period is a period outside of Open Enrollment when you can shop for and buy health insurance. You must have a qualifying life event in order to be eligible to buy a plan during this time. Common qualifying events include getting married, having a child, or losing your job. Special Enrollment Periods typically start on the day of the qualifying event and end 60 days after the qualifying event.

Loss of Health Insurance

You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you or anyone in your household lost qualifying health coverage in the past 60 days (or more than 60 days ago but since January 1, 2020) OR expects to lose coverage in the next 60 days.

If you lost coverage more than 60 days ago, but since January 1, 2020, and didn’t enroll sooner because you were impacted by the COVID-19 emergency declared by FEMA, you may still qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Tax Credits to Reduce your Premium Costs 

Find out if you qualify for income-based tax credits that reduce the cost of monthly health insurance premiums.  These Advance Premium Tax Credits are only available through the Health Insurance Marketplace but you can use them to purchase qualifying health plans from Community Health Options.

Our storefront will ask you a few qualifying questions (be sure to slide the button at the bottom of the page to ‘Check My Eligibility’) to estimate your potential tax credit and show actual plans and prices.

Once you have chosen a plan, you will be shown options to purchase. Choose Option 1, if you do not qualify for tax credits and want to purchase your plan directly from Community Health Options; choose Option 2 to confirm your eligibility for a tax credit and to purchase your health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Timing is important!  In most cases, you must enroll in a new plan 60 days before or after you lose your current coverage.


With so much focus on COVID-19 precautions, the seasonal flu could escape many peoples’ minds. But health experts want everyone to pay more attention than ever to preventing influenza this year. And, it's not too late to get a flu vaccination.

In an August 4, 2020 report on National Public Radio, Mark Thompson, an epidemiologist in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said, "No year is a good year to get the flu, but this year — with COVID-19 also raging — it's especially bad.” He noted that "People who can avoid the flu will help reduce the burden on a U.S. health care system already overwhelmed by COVID-19.”