With domestic violence on the rise during the pandemic, Covered California has added a new Qualifying Life Event (QLE) for victims to get health coverage outside of open enrollment. Victims of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment may qualify for a special enrollment period at which time they may apply for coverage or remove themselves and/or dependents from existing coverage to enroll in a new health plan.

While a QLE is not needed to terminate coverage, if the consumer is the primary on the insurance or the spouse of the primary, he or she may remove the abuser and/or dependents from the plan. If not a spouse or registered domestic partner, the abused can remove only themselves from the plan but not dependents. Once removed from the plan, they may then apply for coverage under the single or head of household tax filing status. A CPA should be consulted about the tax ramifications reported on their returns once new coverage is selected.

Open Enrollment begins on November 1, 2020 and goes through January 31, 2021. (Not to be confused with Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period which goes from October 15 to December 7.) During Open Enrollment, you may sign up for new coverage, change or renew current coverage or sign up for Medi-Cal (although you can apply for Medi-Cal at any time during the year).

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