FAQ: What is a Special Enrollment Period?

questions and answers2A special enrollment period is a time when you’re allowed to make changes to your health insurance plan even though it’s not an open enrollment period.

Generally, if certain conditions are met, special enrollment is available when you, your spouse or your dependents lose other coverage (including exhaustion of COBRA continuation coverage), when you marry or when you have a new child by birth, adoption or placement for adoption. The plan must give you at least 30 days–from the loss of coverage or from the date of the marriage, birth, adoption or placement for adoption–to request special enrollment.  A description of a plan’s special enrollment rules must be given to the employee on or before the time the employee is offered the opportunity to enroll in the plan. For more information, see Questions and Answers: Recent Changes in Health Care Law

Reference: elaws – Health Benefits Advisor, http://www.dol.gov/elaws/ebsa/health/4.asp