Special enrollment periods (SEPs) provide an important opportunity for consumers who lose their health insurance coverage or experience other life changes to enroll in a plan through the health insurance marketplaces outside of the annual open enrollment period. 1 The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is now being urged by insurers to make it harder for families to enroll in or change plans after childbirth.2 The ability to qualify for an SEP for having a child, which allows parents to add a new child to their health plan or choose a new plan for their growing family, 3 is of particular importance to young parents. Nearly four million babies were born in 2014, and the mean age of first-time mothers was 26 years old.4 Given the correlation between fertility and age, young adults are more likely to qualify for an SEP due to a birth, and more likely to be impacted by limitations on SEPs. HHS should collect more information on the new SEP confirmation process, to determine whether it delays or prevents eligible families from enrolling in coverage. HHS should also resist any attempts to further restrict the SEP for having a child, to ensure that people who experience this major life change have the opportunity to enroll in marketplace coverage outside of the open enrollment period.
Read our brief on the Impact of Special Enrollment Period Changes on Young Parents