Never fear, options are here!
This time of year is incredibly hectic, and it can be downright stressful for many of us. The Obama administration didn’t do those of us who stress-out during the holidays any favors when they created the concept of the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for health insurance. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that the vast majority of health insurance plan purchases must occur between November 1 and January 31 every year.
(If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) you can buy health insurance during the rest of the year, but that’s a story for another day.)
Moving the needle up one more notch on the stress-o-meter happens if you need coverage that takes effect on January 1 of the next year, which most people who are motivated to purchase a new plan do. For that January 1st date you’ll have to get an application submitted no later than December 15.
We at HSA for America talk to a lot of people during these three months about health insurance and their options. Many of our clients and prospects have received notice of stunning rate increases set to take effect January 1, or their carriers are pulling out of the health insurance market altogether, and their policies are terminating on December 31. So clearly, many people need coverage that takes effect on the first day of the year.
So, what do you do if you’re one of the many folks we know of who have missed the December 15 deadline for a January 1 effective date? Here are some options for you to consider:
- Shop for coverage with us, and purchase a plan from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield, if they offer insurance coverage in your state. Anthem has announced that for some of their plans purchased off the federal exchange for individuals in Colorado, Georgia, Nevada, they will process applications submitted by midnight on December 31 for a January 1 effective date. Click here to get quotes on plans, and if Anthem is a possibility for you in your state, I strongly recommend you consider their plans.We’re finding that their rates are really competitive this year. Also, they’re a company that’s been around a long time, and is financially stable.
- Get a short-term plan for provide coverage during the month of January, and sign up for a permanent plan later. Short-term coverage is really affordable. Although it doesn’t cover things like doctor’s visits, it will take care of expenses related to major illnesses and injuries.You can get short-term coverage for as little as a month, which will take care of you nicely through January. Then you have until January 15 to get your application for a permanent plan submitted. Once you sign up for a short term plan
here, be sure you contact us, so that we can assist you with finding the best coverage at the best price.Do keep in mind, however, that short-term plans do not meet the minimum coverage requirements as defined by the ACA, so if you keep your short-term plan and don’t get permanent coverage for more than 3 months, you’ll have to pay a penalty at tax time in 2017.
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.