Still need health insurance? You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period!

What you need to know about Special Enrollment Periods

The Marketplace deadline to enroll in or change health insurance plans ended on January 15, 2022 for most people.  You still may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in Marketplace coverage if you experience certain life changes.  You may also be eligible to enroll for coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program all year long.

Read more to learn who is eligible and contact a Health Insurance Navigator for help!

Frequently Asked Questions

What life changes may make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period?

You may qualify if:

You or anyone in your household in the past 60 days:

  • Got married
  • Had a baby, adopted a child, or placed a child for foster care
  • Got divorced or legally separated and lost health insurance

You changed your residence:

  • Moved to a new home in a new ZIP code or county
  • Moved to the U.S. from a foreign country or United States territory
  • If you’re a student and moved to or from the place you attend school
  • If you’re a seasonal worker and moved to or from the place you both live and work
  • Moved to or from a shelter or other transitional housing

You lost your health insurance:

  • You or anyone in your household lost qualifying health coverage in the past 60 days
  • You or anyone in your household expects to lose coverage in the next 60 days
  • You lost health insurance since 1/1/2020

Important note: You only have 60 days to enroll in Marketplace coverage after one of these changes has occurred.

What is the new qualification for a Special Enrollment Period?

You may now qualify if your estimated annual household income is at or below 150% Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

If you are an immigrant not eligible for Medicaid due to your immigration status, you may still qualify for this Special Enrollment Period even if your income is below the 100% FPL. Household income limits will vary depending on the number of members of a household.

Who qualifies for the new Special Enrollment Period for low-income people?

To qualify, a person must have an annual projected income that is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Line: 

Number in HouseholdAnnual Household Income
1$19,320
2$26,130
3$32,940
4$39,750
5$46,560
6$53,370
7$60,180
8$66,990

If you are a household of one, and your projected income in 2022 is between $12,880 and $19,320, you may be eligible to enroll in Marketplace now or change plans if you are currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan.

If you are a household of four, and your projected income in 2022 is between $26,500 and $39,750, you may be eligible to enroll in Marketplace now or change plans if you are currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan.

If you are an immigrant not eligible for Medicaid due to your immigration status, and your income is below $19,320 (for a household of one), you may be eligible to enroll in Marketplace now or change plans if you are currently enrolled in a Marketplace plan.

When is the new Special Enrollment Period for low-income people available?

Beginning March 22, consumers are able to enroll through this Special Enrollment Period at HealthCare.gov or cuidadodesalud.gov or by calling the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325) for enrollment help.

When does coverage begin for someone using a Special Enrollment Period?

A person who enrolls in Marketplace coverage using a Special Enrollment Period will be covered the first day of the month following plan selection, no matter what day you apply.

Who is eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program?

Medicaid: People with low income, including individuals, families and children, pregnant women, older adults, and people with disabilities, may qualify. If eligible, you can apply any time.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (North Carolina Health Choice for North Carolina residents): helps children in households that earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to buy private insurance.

Need help enrolling in a Special Enrollment Period, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program?

Health insurance navigators are ready to help!  Visit NCNavigator.net, call 855-733-3711, or 980-256-3782 in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, or Union counties to schedule a free appointment!

Get Help

Action Alert: Supreme Court Upholds ACA Once Again

Today the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the third time.

This decision is wonderful news for Charlotte Center of Legal Advocacy and the people it serves as the ACA has helped make health care accessible to millions of uninsured Americans since 2010. 

More than 31 million Americans rely on the ACA for affordable coverage that provides free preventive care, protection for pre-existing conditions and a ban on lifetime caps for insurance benefits, along with the peace of mind that comes with being insured.  

Access to health care is essential for all people as efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic continue. This decision ensures that access without disrupting our healthcare system at a time when care is needed most.  

For those who have coverage through the ACA, this decision does not change current plans. Those who are uninsured or interested in changing their health plan can still sign up for 2021 coverage through August 15 using the Special Open Enrollment Period. Financial assistance to pay for coverage is still available.  

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s health insurance navigators provide free, unbiased assistance to anyone who needs help signing up for coverage or understanding their options. For more information, visit charlottelegaladvocacy.org/getcovered

2020 Open Enrollment Numbers Strong in N.C.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is celebrating another year of strong health insurance enrollment after the seventh open enrollment period for health coverage through Federal Health Insurance Marketplace under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

As a member of the N.C. Navigator Consortium, the Advocacy Center’s Health Insurance Navigator Project helped North Carolina have the third highest number of enrollments behind Florida and Texas for states on the federal exchange. During this year’s enrollment period, 505,275 individuals signed up for 2020 Marketplace Coverage–almost 3,000 more than last year’s enrollment period.

This year’s enrollment period, which typically lasts Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, was extended to 3 a.m. Dec. 18 to accommodate website issues for consumers trying to enroll on the final day.

During that period, the Advocacy Center assisted more than 1,400 residents, helping them understand their coverage options and select plans that best fit their needs and budget for 2020.

“Our team did an incredible job in just 45 days,” said Julieanne Taylor, coordinator for the Health Insurance Navigator Project.

The Advocacy Center was able to host more than 150 additional appointments this year thanks to the support of 18 volunteers from the Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership and the community.

Volunteers hosted 66 appointments during enrollment events on Wednesday evenings and Saturdays during the six-week period. Volunteers also made more than 500 calls to help consumers schedule appointments.

“Our volunteers helped us serve more consumers on a tight timeline,” Taylor said. “They were all so helpful and jumped in to support us wherever they could.”

The 2020 enrollment period may be over, but navigators are now assisting individuals who qualify to select coverage during Special Enrollment Periods. Anyone who has experienced a major life event such as getting married, moving, changes in income, welcoming a new family member, or loss of coverage can call 1-855-733-3711 or visit ncnavigator.net to get free help to understand their coverage options.

Navigators are located at sites across Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union counties all year to help consumers understand their coverage options.

Advocacy Center navigators will also be stationed at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites through tax season to help consumers reconcile any financial assistance they receive for health coverage in preparing their taxes.

ACA Open Enrollment Is Here

To schedule a free in-person appointment, individuals can call the statewide navigator hotline, 1-855-733-3711 or go to ncnavigator.net.

The Open Enrollment Period for 2020 health insurance coverage started Nov. 1 and runs through Dec. 15, giving consumers 45 days to enroll in health coverage from the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace.

Despite confusion around the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the ACA and its protections remain the law: financial assistance is still available to eligible consumers; individuals cannot be denied coverage or charged more due to a pre-existing condition, such as cancer or diabetes, among others.

Last year, more than 90 percent of North Carolinians who enrolled in Marketplace coverage were eligible for financial assistance, which can lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. .

Mecklenburg County also had the highest number of enrollments in the state in with 60,229 residents signing up for 2019 coverage. Of those who enrolled, 53,878 residents received financial assistance; 16,655 enrolled for Marketplace coverage for the first time.

As a member of the N.C. Navigator Consortium, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s team of health insurance navigators are available to help consumers understand their health insurance options through both the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid.

Navigators are federally certified and required to provide objective, non-biased information about all healthcare options available. Navigators from the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy will be assisting consumers at different community locations in Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union counties during open enrollment.

Open Enrollment Navigator Sites

  • Beatties Ford Road Library
  • Cabarrus Health Alliance
  • Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy
  • CMC Myers Park
  • CMC Northpark
  • CPCC-Main Campus
  • El Puente Hispano
  • Goodwill Industries

  • Independence Library
  • Latin American Coalition
  • Mecklenburg County Health Department
  • Monroe Library
  • New Beginnings Church
  • Union County Human Services
  • West Boulevard Library


Watch Julieanne Taylor explain to WBTV’s “On Your Side Tonight” what consumers need to know for Open Enrollment.

The Advocacy Center will also host enrollment events every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy satellite office located at 1524 Elizabeth Avenue, in Charlotte. On Saturdays, walk-ins are welcome until 3 p.m.

A final enrollment event will be held Sunday, Dec. 15, noon to 8 p.m. at 1524 Elizabeth Avenue in Charlotte.

To schedule a free in-person appointment, individuals can call the statewide navigator hotline, 1-855-733-3711 or go to ncnavigator.net.

All consumers – new and renewing – are encouraged to return to the Marketplace during Open Enrollment to explore their options and enroll in health coverage. For individuals renewing coverage, it is important to review application information and 2020 plan options because plans and prices change every year.

What are the benefits?

By signing up for health insurance, consumers may receive free preventive care, which includes

  • well-women visits
  • physical exams
  • regular screenings
  • wellness tests

The ACA has made insurance more accessible and affordable to consumers, and consumers can find quality, affordable plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it, you may face high out of pocket costs if you have a medical emergency or need to visit a doctor.

To qualify for financial assistance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  1. Have household income between 100% and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. Certain immigrants are eligible even if income is below the poverty line.
  2. Be a U.S. citizen or lawfully present immigrant. This includes green card holders, refugees, asylees, U visa holders, work and student visa holders, TPS, among others.
  3. Not eligible for affordable employer-based coverage, Medicaid, or Medicare.

Special Enrollment Periods

After December 15, some individuals may be eligible to enroll for coverage through a Special Enrollment Period. Special Enrollment Periods are available for individuals who recently experienced a major life change, such as a permanent move, the birth of a child, or a newly obtained immigration status. If you qualify, then you may enroll in Marketplace coverage within 60 days of the change. It is important to note that you can also enroll for coverage under Medicaid and CHIP all year long.

If you have questions about your health coverage options, navigators are available the entire year to assist consumers understand their options, enroll in Marketplace or Medicaid coverage, report changes to the Marketplace, understand their medical bill, and assist with Marketplace appeals.

To contact a Navigator to schedule a free, in-person appointment, consumers can call to 1-855-733-3711 or go online to ncnavigator.net.

Learn more about Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Health Insurance Navigator Project

9-30 Recap of Healthcare Hot Topics: Access to Care in N.C.

When it comes to health care in North Carolina, a lot is changing. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and CareRing recently hosted a policy update to help residents understand what’s changing and how we can protect access to care in our community. Learn about what is happening and use these resources to stay informed.

Medicaid Transformation in North Carolina

North Carolina’s Medicaid program is changing. The state has contracted with private health insurance companies to manage health care for most N.C. residents who receive health coverage through Medicaid and NC Health Choice (CHIP). Find out what you need to know to prepare your family or your patients for these changes.

Find out what these changes mean for you and your family and what you need to do to continue receiving your Medicaid benefits.

Contact Charlotte Center
for Legal Advocacy
Becca Friedman (English)
Johanna Parra (Español )

Learn more about Medicaid Transformation in NC

Access to Care Under the Affordable Care Act

Despite misinformation, repeal attempts and significant budget cuts for outreach and advertising, the Affordable Care Act has enabled thousands of North Carolinians to receive affordable health insurance with protections from pre-existing condition exclusions and limits over the last nine years.

More North Carolinians would have access to affordable health coverage and care if the state were to expand it’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act by 2020, which would have provided $21 billion in federal tax dollars to the state and created 43,000 jobs.

Because the state has failed to expand its program, at least 200,000 N.C. residents fall into the Medicaid Gap, where their income is too high to qualify for the current Medicaid program while also being too low to qualify for financial assistance to purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Despite N.C.’s failure to expand Medicaid, the state’s uninsured rate is at 11 percent and continues to decrease. Last year, Mecklenburg County had the highest number of enrollments in the state with 60,229 residents enrolling in a Marketplace plan; 53,878 received financial assistance, and 16,655 enrolled for the first time.

There are still more than 1 million N.C. residents who remain uninsured but eligible for coverage with financial assistance.

Open Enrollment Nov. 1 – Dec. 15 2019

Navigators are available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. across Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union counties, with enrollment events every Wednesday and Saturday. Make a free appointment today:

  • Call 1-855-733-3711

Learn more about the Health Insurance Navigator Project

Immigrant Access to Health Care in North Carolina

Over the last two years, immigrant families have been targeted by policy changes that have impacted their safety, security and stability.

As advocates for health care and immigrant families, we have the opportunity to fight fear with facts.


Immigrants — including naturalized citizens, lawfully present non-citizens and people who are undocumented — make up 13 percent of the U.S. population. The vast majority of children in immigrant families are U.S.-born citizens, which means they have access to the same health care and benefits as other U.S. citizen children.

Shift in Federal Immigration Policies

  • Increasing immigration enforcement
  • Removal of legal protections
  • Reducing access to public benefits

Impact on Health Care Access

  • Immigrant families, including those with lawful status, are experiencing resounding levels of fear and uncertainty.
  • Increased fears are having significant negative effects on the health and well-being of children that have lifelong consequences.
  • Immigrant families have growing concerns about participating in public programs.

What you can do

  • Understand these policies and how they impact our community
  • Help patients understand their health coverage options.
  • Make your voice heard! Hold policy makers accountable to protect and expand access to health care in our community.

Questions? Contact Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy

Healthcare.gov Knocked For Glitches, Inaccurate Info By Advocacy Group

If you’re shopping for an insurance plan on healthcare.gov, the online marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act, there’s an important feature that doesn’t always work, an advocacy group says. It sometimes gives misinformation about which doctors are in the network for each plan.

Read more at www.wfae.org