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Is it true if I adopt a child my whole family is eligible for a special health insurance open enrollment period?

Yes.  When a child is born, adopted or received into foster care, a special enrollment period to shop for health insurance opens up. 

Since the normal open enrollment period for the marketplace doesn’t open until Nov. 15, 2014 (for coverage starting in 2015), the only way to buy individual coverage until then is to qualify for a special open enrollment period.

Adoption is considered a major life change and, thus, makes your family eligible a 60-day special open enrollment period.

You can shop for health insurance for your newly adopted child -- and the rest of the family since the adoption allows your entire family to use the special enrollment period to enroll in health care coverage.

If you and other family members already have health insurance, you can use the special open enrollment period to change to a different health plan if you desire.

If you are under a job-based group health insurance plan, then a special enrollment period is also opened up by an adoption. 

HIPAA special enrollment rights say your employer’s health plan may not limit your ability to change from one benefit package to another during the special enrollment period.  HIPAA rules, however, don’t entitle parents to add other dependents during this special enrollment period, but many plans will allow this. 

A job-based group health special enrollment period is typically only 30 days long and begins on the date of the life event.  Once you sign up, coverage is required to be effective no later than the date of your qualifying event (the adoption).

Last updated: Jul. 28, 2014