Signing up for benefits usually only occurs during your company’s open enrollment period, or when starting a new job at a new company. But did you know that these are not necessarily the only times you can elect or change your benefits?
Sometimes there are changes in your life, planned or unplanned, called Qualifying Life Events (QLEs), that allow you to add or change benefits. These QLEs are determined by the IRS, and when they occur, QLEs can allow you to enroll in health insurance or make changes to your benefits outside of the regular windows
When a qualifying life event occurs, you typically have 30 to 31 days to request changes to your coverage. Common QLEs include:
- A change in the number of dependents (through birth or adoption or if a child is no longer an eligible dependent)
- A change in a spouse’s employment status (resulting in a loss or gain of coverage)
- A change in your legal marital status (marriage, divorce, or legal separation)
- A change in employment status from full time to part time, or part time to full time, resulting in a gain or loss of eligibility
- Eligibility for coverage through the Marketplace
- Changes in address or location that may affect coverage
- Entitlement to Medicare or Medicaid
Some lesser-known QLEs are:
- Turning 26 and losing coverage through a parent’s plan
- Death in the family (leading to change in dependents or loss of coverage)
- Changes that make you no longer eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
If you have recently experienced a QLE or expect to in the near future, reach out to your company’s Human Resources for questions regarding specific life events and your ability to request changes.