Plan Advisors Blog

Special Election Periods for Natural Disasters

Posted by Lance Hoeltke on Fri, Dec 18, 2020 @ 03:00 PM

If you have clients that have been disrupted by natural disasters, such as Hurricane Eta in Florida or the California wildfires, they may be entitled to a special enrollment period. Beneficiaries are entitled to a special enrollment period if:

  • They reside in an area where a disaster or other emergency was declared by a federal, state, or local government entity – OR – 
    • They rely on someone who lives in the disaster area to help them make healthcare decisions – AND – 
  • They were eligible for another election period during the SEP eligibility period – AND – 
  • They didn’t make an election during the election period because of the disaster.

The SEP starts on the earlier of the following dates:

  • The incident start date – OR – 
  • The start date identified in the declaration.

The SEP ends two calendar months following the later of the following dates:

  • The end date identified in the declaration – OR – 
  • The date the end of the incident is announced.

The special election period code to be used is SEP – DST.

FEMA maintains a list of disasters they have declared here.

If you have questions about whether your client is eligible for an SEP or not, our team is happy to help!