If you missed the last open enrollment period for health insurance, you probably have already heard that you will have to wait until the next one to enroll in a plan. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to go without coverage. There are coverage options that can get you through to the next chance to enroll.
Do You Qualify for Special Enrollment?
The most recent insurance enrollment period closed February 15, 2015. The next one will run from November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016 for coverage that will start January 1, 2016. Outside of those dates, you are not able to sign up for regular coverage unless you have what is know as a qualifying event. These are events that indicate a significant change or event in your life. Qualifying events include:
- Loss of insurance. This can be caused by job loss or becoming ineligible for a program like Medicaid.
- The addition of a dependent. This can be because of a birth, adoption or gaining custody of a child.
Gaining American citizenship
- Moving permanently to an area that has different qualifying health plans than the one you just left
- Becoming eligible or ineligible for advanced premium tax credits. This can happen if you have a significant change in family income.
- Errors or contract violations that are noted by your state’s marketplace or insurance exchange
- Misconduct by a professional involved in enrollment, such as a marketplace navigator or insurance agent
You can apply for coverage up to 60 days after a qualifying event. This year, you may also be eligible for special enrollment if you owe a fee for not carrying coverage in 2014. To qualify, you must meet specific criteria:
- You must have been unaware that open enrollment ended on February 15th, or have not understood the repercussions of not having coverage.
- You must owe a fee for not having coverage in 2014.
- You must not be enrolled in health insurance for 2015.
If those apply to you, you can enroll up until April 30, 2015. You will have to pay your fee for 2014 to qualify.
Most qualifying events are unusual, and will probably not apply to most people who are seeking coverage to take them through to the next open enrollment. Luckily, options still exist to help you get and stay insured.
Short Term Health Insurance Options
If you were not able to get a plan by the end of open enrollment, you can get short term insurance to get you through to the next one. A short term health insurance policy can run anywhere from 30 days to as long as 12 months. These plans offer the same sorts of benefits as permanent insurance, just over a shorter period of time. Often, these plans cost the same or less than permanent insurance.
By choosing short term health insurance, you can rest easy knowing that, should you become ill or are injured, your medical bills will be handled in a way that is affordable.
Are you in need of coverage to get you through to the next open enrollment? There are many affordable plans available. Contact us today to find out about coverage to protect your family’s well-being and peace of mind.
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.