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Special Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act guarantees that almost everyone can get health insurance. In most cases, you can only sign up for a health insurance plan during the open enrollment period.

If you missed open enrollment, you may be able to enroll during the special enrollment period. This runs from February 16, 2015 through October 31, 2015. To be eligible, you must have had a qualifying "life event" within the past 60 days.

What Is a Qualifying Life Event?

You have had a qualifying life event — and therefore qualify for the special enrollment period — if:

How Does Special Enrollment Work?

In most cases, you have 60 days after the qualifying life event to enroll in or change your health plan. If you have insurance through your job, you may only have 30 days to enroll. You can enroll directly through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX). Or, if you think you qualify for financial assistance, you can apply on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

If you already have a plan and want to change it, you can do so on the Marketplace or with BCBSTX, depending on where you first enrolled.

When you sign up for or change your insurance plan during the special enrollment period, your coverage may not start right away. The date your coverage starts is based on your life event and the date you apply.

What if I Don't Qualify for Special Enrollment?

If you miss open enrollment and don't qualify for the special enrollment period, you can still stay insured by buying short-term insurance directly from BCBSTX. We offer affordable short-term plans that can keep you covered until the next open enrollment period.

Please note: Short-term plans give you basic health care coverage, but they don't meet the Affordable Care Act's minimum essential coverage requirements. As a result, you may still have to pay a fine for having a plan that doesn't meet these requirements.

Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP. There is no special enrollment period for those government offered coverage options — you can apply at any time.

Members of American Indian tribes can enroll any month, not just during open enrollment. You can even apply for cost assistance.

Start Shopping Now

If you qualify for special enrollment, start shopping now to compare BCBSTX plans and find the right one for you.

Start Shopping Now

* Please note that the following are not considered loss of coverage: voluntarily canceling your health insurance plan, having your plan canceled because you did not pay your premiums or because your plan did not meet the requirements set by the Affordable Care Act.