Get Covered America’s #GotCovered Series: Life Events Make Health Coverage Available to Millions Outside of Open Enrollment Periods

Enroll America and Partners Are Working To Make Sure Consumers
Are Aware of the Special Enrollment Period

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Washington, DC – Important health coverage decisions are often made at a difficult or busy time for many: a baby is born, someone loses a job, or a family moves to a new area. This year, nearly 7 million Americans may be eligible to enroll in health coverage because of these kinds of qualifying life events according to research released last week from Enroll America. These events trigger a special enrollment period allowing consumers to get covered before the Health Insurance Marketplace opens again on November 15, 2014.In order to reach those encountering qualifying life events, Enroll America is engaging partners to meet consumers where they turn for help, reaching people like Sondra who found coverage when she least expected to. As featured in the Charlotte Observer, Sondra was surprised to learn about this special enrollment opportunity, and there are millions more like her who stand to benefit.

Sondra Hoffman – Charlotte, NC

When Sondra arrived at Crisis Assistance Ministry in Charlotte after losing her job earlier this summer, she wasn’t sure what to expect. Considering her string of bad luck lately, she didn’t have much hope that they could help her secure her unemployment benefits. An injury sidelined her in May and for the second time since November, she was out of a job as a nurse for home-care agencies.

Health coverage felt like a luxury compared to her more immediate need to pay the bills and put food on the table. Fortunately, Sondra got the help she needed beyond just the unemployment benefits. A counselor set her up with a navigator from Legal Services of Southern Piedmont who explained that she may qualify for a special enrollment period after recently losing coverage.

Sondra walked out of her appointment with health insurance comparable to coverage offered by past employers, but much more affordable. Her tax credit brought her premium down to just $10.56 a month which is about $350 less than what she paid working part-time, and $600 less than COBRA coverage she was offered. Better yet, her out-of-pocket costs no longer discouraged her from getting preventive treatment she was deferring. Just last week she got a wellness checkup for the first time in years and was stunned to find out there wasn’t even a co-pay for the visit. When she decided to take early Social Security benefits recently, Sondra notified the Marketplace of her income increase and was excited to see the premium still fit well within her budget after the tax credit. Sondra says she feels her luck has turned around, saying she stumbled into “the right place, at the right time, with the right people to help.” In a difficult stretch, the special enrollment period felt “like a blessing” to her.


About Get Covered America and Enroll America

Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in ten states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about the new health coverage options and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. 

For more information on Enroll America and its efforts, visit

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