What’s the deal with “Qualifying Events”?

Penguin Judo. Is this a thing?

Penguin Judo. Is this a thing?

If you’re like me, you think about enrolling in something at about the exact time you need it. That judo class at the Learning Annex that starts on Saturday? I’ll think about enrolling Saturday morning. Getting renter’s insurance for my new apartment? I’ll think about enrolling when the roof starts leaking. And health insurance? I’ll think about enrolling the next time I get sick.


The fact that I still don’t know judo is the first hint that this process isn’t working very well for me. It turns out, you almost always have to enroll in things well before the start date. There’s usually a window of time, and that window closes. At the Learning Annex, sometimes you can beg and plead and get the judo instructor to make an exception for you. But with important things like health insurance, there are laws that control when you can enroll. Begging and pleading? Forget about it.

With healthcare reform, there are now specific times of the year when you can enroll in health insurance. Those times are called “open enrollment periods” and, hint, they don’t last forever! If you don’t enroll during an open enrollment period, you have missed your window, and you have to wait until the next time open enrollment comes around.

Unless – HI-YA (Judo chop) – you have a “qualifying event.” These are life events that are significant enough that the law allows you to enroll in health insurance right then, and not have to wait until the next open enrollment period. The following are the qualifying events that will allow you to enroll in health insurance coverage:

  • You lost your existing health insurance coverage
  • You moved to a new area not served by your current health plan
  • You gained a dependent through marriage, domestic partnership, birth or adoption
  • You had a change in marital status
  • You had a change in employment

If you had one of these qualifying events, and want to enroll in health insurance – get moving! The window won’t stay open for long.

If you missed the window to enroll in health insurance, and you didn’t have one of these qualifying events, then the next open enrollment period for most of us will be November 2014 – February 2015. Remember, that unlike my judo class, you can enroll for health insurance and it doesn’t have to start right away. So if you want health insurance for January 1, 2015, you can enroll in November with a start date in January. You don’t have to be like me, and wait until the last day of December to enroll.

In fact, don’t be like me. Plan ahead. Enroll early. And also, learn judo. It might come in handy.

The Get Out, Get Covered Tour Ends At Treefort Music Fest

Treefort MainpageThe Get Out, Get Covered Tour ended in true rock star fashion. As a finish line for the tour, we hit the Treefort Music Festival; a four-day indie music extravaganza in the heart of downtown Boise. The goal for the tour was to reach people in unexpected locations. So we figured, “Who’s going to expect us at Treefort?” So we spent three days listening to music and answering questions about health insurance.

We posted up between a robot couple (that greatly resembled something from the Jetson’s) and PacificSource employees mingled with music fans at the “Recharge Bar.” The Recharge Bar allowed Treeforters who had been out for a fort night to stop by and charge their cell phone, tablets, and bike lights. While they were charging their phone, we answered any lingering health insurance questions they still had.

Treefort Booth 1The event was a blast, and our employees had a great time rocking out to some great indie tunes while helping our community get covered.

Check out more photos from Treefort here:



This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The Get Out, Get Covered Tour

Get Out Get Covered_MillionideasYou might be thinking, “It’s after January 1, and I didn’t sign up for health insurance, I’m doomed!” Not to worry, there’s still time to get enrolled in health insurance. The deadline you want to mark on your calendar, March 31. That’s the deadline to get enrolled in coverage for 2014, and to avoid a tax penalty (for not having coverage). 

While it’s not too late to buy health insurance, we understand that buying it can be confusing. So, from January 13 – March 31 we’re headed out on a tour of Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, and coming to a neighborhood near you. Featuring 95 stops in 57 communities, the “Get Out, Get Covered” events will focus on giving you everything you need to enroll in a plan on-site, or give you enough information so you can buy insurance on your own.

Get Out, Get Covered Tour events will be held in a wide variety of settings. Venues such as community recreation centers, hospitals, and cafes will host daytime events, while restaurants, community centers, and other neighborhood gathering spots will host evening events. We’re trying to meet you where you already are. Specific dates, times, and locations, can be found online at http://www.GetOutGetCovered.com.

In case you’re wondering if we’re coming to your community, here’s a list of our tour stops:


We hope to see you out! For more information, don’t forget to check: http://www.GetOutGetCovered.com.