Health Insurance Open Enrollment: Step by Step Guide to get Insurance if you Missed it
Open enrollment is the period when people can sign up for a health insurance plan. It typically runs from November 1 to December 15 of every year.
In the past, some states have extended the deadline beyond December 15.
During these six weeks, clients are allowed to enroll in a new health care plan, transfer to a new one, and or apply for cost assistance.
Health care coverage that was enrolled during the said time frame will be effective for use on January 1 of the following year.
Are you allowed to sign up for health insurance open enrollment after the period has passed?
Yes, it is possible to get health insurance or change your marketplace plan even after past the deadline.
However, the Special Enrollment Period is only applicable to individuals that have experienced at least one “life circumstance”.
You should keep in mind though, that you may not qualify for cost assistance if you’re enrolling in health insurance after the yearly open enrollment period.
Those who do not qualify for coverage in 2020 through a Special Enrollment Period can do it on the next regular ACA open enrollment, which will begin on November 1, 2020.
Options on how to get health insurance after open enrollment
Marketplace Special Enrollment Period
You may enroll during a Special Enrollment Period if you have experienced any of the following:
You got married
You had a divorce
You are having or adopting a baby
You changed your residence
You lost your current health plan
You are becoming a U.S. citizen
You are becoming a member of a federally recognized tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
Beginning or ending service as an AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA, or NCCC member
If you want to know if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period for Marketplace plans, you may visit healthcare.gov.
Medicare Special Enrollment Periods
People with Medicare have separate enrollment periods. They are classified into three:
Initial enrollment period: You can sign up for Medicare Part A and/or Part B within seven months of the time you first became qualified for Medicare through age or disability.
Fall open enrollment period: You can review and switch to your Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan, or your Part D coverage, from October 15 to December 7.
General enrollment period: During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) between January 1 and March 31, you can enroll in Medicare Part B for the first time.
You may be qualified to sign up for a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or a prescription drug (Part D) plan from April 1 to June 30 of the same year.
There are also Special Enrollment Periods for Medicare. You just need to meet the eligibility requirements to be qualified.
Medicaid or CHIP
Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can be availed at any time of the year. If you are eligible for either of these programs, enrollment can start right away.
To know if you qualify, the first step is to answer a few questions on healthcare.gov. If you pass for Medicaid and/or CHIP, you can opt to apply for coverage either through the Health Insurance Marketplace or through the Medicaid agency within your state.
Short-term health insurance plans
Short-term health insurance can be purchased throughout the year and can bridge the gap between policies.
Even if these plans cover other members of your family, they do not cover benefits such as preventive care, prescription drug coverage, and laboratory services.
The advantage of getting short-term health insurance plans is their cost. They are less expensive as compared to qualified health plans under the ACA (also called major medical health insurance).
This type of plan is intended for people who cannot afford major medical insurance or those who want temporary coverage before they sign up for major medical health insurance.
Supplemental health insurance
Supplemental health insurance plans to aid individuals and families in paying for out-of-pocket expenses that are not offered in their primary policy during hospital stays. This may include copays, deductibles, utility bills, groceries, and childcare.
Why should you get a health insurance policy?
Purchasing health insurance for yourself and your family can be expensive. The average monthly premium ranges from $323 to $732 per person.
This is the main reason why people forego buying it. However, those without health insurance find it much more difficult to pay mounting medical bills and afford even the most necessities.
Getting health insurance coverage offers a lot of benefits. It protects you from unexpected, high medical costs and allows you to receive preventive care and medical services for serious illnesses and chronic health conditions.