Do not settle for being stuck without insurance.  There are still options to become insured as soon as possible that you can explore before the next open enrollment period.

Open enrollment is the time frame when an individual can sign-up for health insurance freely without a need for an exception or “Qualifying Life Event.”  This timeframe does not work around the events that happen in your life.  You cannot plan for the unexpected, so why should you be forced to live without health insurance?  There are a few alternatives so you won’t be waiting around for the next open enrollment period.


“Special enrollment” is an option to enroll in health insurance outside of open enrollment.  Everyone is special, whether it is being good at cribbage or recently getting married.  But, the government does not view skill in card games as a legitimate reason for enrolling outside of open enrollment.  A qualifying life event, like marriage, must occur for the benefits.

An important note on special enrollment is there is a 60-day application period before the opportunity is gone.  This means after the life event, regardless of when you reported it, you have 60 days to apply for special enrollment.


Qualifying events include:

  • Marriage
  • Gain of a dependent (birth of a child, adoption, foster care)
  • Gain of citizenship
  • Loss of minimum essential coverage (ending of job, not due to failure to pay premiums)
  • Change in permanent address
  • No longer under your parent’s insurance plan
  • Loss of a dependent (death or divorce)
  • Gaining status as a Native American tribe
  • MNsure made a mistake (If you believe there was a mistake made on MNsure’s side, you can report this.)


Here is the information you may need to gather depending on the qualifying event:

  • The life event details
  • Social security numbers and date of birth for whoever is applying
  • Driver’s license or other form of identification
  • Last year’s tax forms (the first page of 1040)
  • Two recent pay stubs and other sources of income
  • Employer’s contact information
  • W2 form or your employee tax ID number


For those who reside here with me in the chilly state of Minnesota, MinnesotaCare is a healthcare program for those who cannot access affordable healthcare.  It is funded through a state tax on hospitals and health care providers in Minnesota, federally through Medicaid, and premiums from those in the program.


Speaking of Medicaid, another option for those who qualify is Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).  These programs are federally funded and help people who have limited income and/or are disabled.  Also, even if you do not qualify for Medicaid, your child may still be eligible for CHIP.


More information is available for your eligibility and application at

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