Open enrollment for the health insurance marketplaces doesn’t start again until November 15, but millions of uninsured Americans may be eligible to sign up before then.
When the first open enrollment period ended on March 31, 2014, more than 8 million Americans had enrolled in coverage through the health insurance marketplaces. Some of those who missed the deadline and remain uninsured, however, have the opportunity to get covered through a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if they experience a qualifying life event — like moving, getting married, having a child, or gaining citizenship. Insured individuals who lose their coverage — for example, through losing a job or getting a divorce — may also qualify for an SEP.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010-2012 American Community Survey and previous research, Enroll America estimates that, nationally, almost 7 million Americans ages 18-64 are likely to experience a qualifying life event that could make them eligible for an SEP — 2.7 million of whom are currently uninsured, and 4 million more who have insurance but could lose their coverage over the course of the year.
Moving is the most common life event that may qualify an uninsured individual for special enrollment as the uninsured are more likely to move than the general population. Across the country, 1.8 million uninsured Americans will likely move to a new county between open enrollment periods.
It is important to continue to get the word out to Americans who have recently lost coverage or who are currently uninsured but have experienced a qualifying life event to let them know that they can get covered before open enrollment begins again in November. This new report provides data on how many uninsured Americans in each state will likely experience each qualifying event so that local outreach efforts can focus more on the populations most affected.