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When can I enroll in my employer’s health plan?

In most cases, you will be able to sign up for an employer-sponsored health plan when you are first hired. Sometimes there will be a waiting period before new employees become eligible to sign up for the company’s health plan, though this cannot last more than 90 days. Most employers will also have one or more annual open enrollment periods. Like open enrollment in the exchange, these periods allow one to enroll in a new plan or switch to a different plan if your employer offers more than one option. Note that despite these similarities, open enrollment for employer-sponsored coverage does not necessarily happen at the same time of year as open enrollment for exchange plans. Your employer should inform you of when their open enrollment will take place.

There are also special enrollment opportunities for employer-sponsored health coverage, same as there are for plans available through the exchange. These opportunities allow one to enroll in a new plan or change plans outside of the typical enrollment period and are triggered by special qualifying events. Examples of qualifying events include getting married, having a child, or losing eligibility for other coverage through a reduction in hours worked, divorce, loss of one’s status as a dependent, and so on. Special enrollment periods are typically offered for at least 30 days following the qualifying event.

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