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Special Enrollment Period

Special enrollment period (SEP) is a time outside the annual open enrollment period when you can enroll in private health insurance. Some SEP events also allow for special effective dates for when coverage starts. You qualify for a SEP if you've had certain "qualifying life events." Examples of these life events include having a baby, getting married, moving to a new area or losing other health coverage. 

If you qualify for a SEP, you usually have up to 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan. If you miss that window, you have to wait until the next open enrollment period to apply.

You don't need to qualify for a SEP to enroll in Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. If you qualify, you can enroll in one of these government-sponsored health programs year-round. 

Special Effective Dates for Loss of Other Coverage

Losing Your Coverage?

You may qualify for a SEP if you or someone in your household lost "qualifying health insurance" in the past 60 days OR expect to lose coverage in the next 60 days. For example, if you lose:

  • Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare coverage
  • employer-sponsored coverage because a job is ending 
  • private coverage because your 2016 health plan is discontinued in 2017. This includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield customers and HealthPartners customers living in certain counties. 

Voluntary loss of coverage because premiums were not paid on time, including COBRA premiums, does not qualify you for a SEP.

For more details including SEP deadlines and coverage start dates, see the Guide to Special Enrollment Period.

Qualifying Life Events

See what life events qualify for a special enrollment period.

Guide to Special Enrollment Period

MNsure's Guide to Special Enrollment Period gives you details on what life events qualify, when to enroll and deadlines.

How to Apply for Special Enrollment Period

Step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a special enrollment period. (You can get expert help from an assister near you).

COBRA Alternative

Special enrollment period for those losing job-based coverage.

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