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Changing Your Coverage

When life changes, so can your health plan

If you have health benefits through your employer, you can change them during "open enrollment." It's typically in the fall. It's your chance to choose a new health plan, pick new benefits or cancel your current plan.

The only other times you can change your health benefits is when you:

  • Get married
  • Get a divorce or legal separation
  • Give birth or adopt a child
  • Lose your health coverage because your spouse or domestic partner lost his or her job
  • Lose your health coverage because your spouse or domestic partner died

Check with your employer to learn more. 

When job-related changes happen

Losing a job or changing jobs usually means giving up the health insurance plan you have through work.  Here are some options for getting new health coverage:

  • Find out if you can stay on your employer's  health plan for a period of time through the Consolidated Omnibus Budgets Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).
  • Understand your rights. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) makes it easier for people to change jobs without losing health coverage. 
  • Buy an insurance plan on your own.
  • Join a government program, such as Medicaid.

Graduating college?

This may be the first time you're thinking about health benefits. To get covered consider these options:

  • Join or stay on your parent's health plan. Contact the employer's Human Resources department for more information.
  • Sign up through a new employer.
  • Buy a health plan on your own. 

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