Open enrollment is a period that typically occurs once a year when individuals can purchase health insurance, or make modifications to their existing plan. The period applies to government-subsidized health coverage plans and those in the private sector.
Every year, many people miss this window of opportunity and are left in a state of panic. Even if you’ve missed the deadlines, there are several options that exist, meaning you won’t be left uninsured. Here are 10 things to consider when buying health care insurance outside of open enrollment.
- Short-Term Insurance
You can always purchase short-term insurance at any time during the year. The only drawback is the coverage typically ends after three months, meaning you’ll be uninsured for the remainder of the year. Short-term packages are offered in every state except New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Vermont. You also can’t purchase short-term insurance and experience a qualifying life event (QLF), which includes getting married, divorced or having a child.
- Special Enrollment Period
If you experienced a qualifying life event (such as loosing your medical coverage, having a child, or getting married) during the open enrollment period, you’re qualified to apply for the special enrollment period. You need to visit HealthCare.gov where you’ll be prompted to answer a series of questions and provide personal information. Once your application is approved, you will be able to purchase medical insurance for the entire year.
For individuals and families who can’t afford to pay for health care and live below the poverty line, they can register for Medicaid. Each state controls their own Medicaid program under federal regulations, and each has different requirements for eligibility.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program
The Children’s Health Insurance Program (also known as CHIP) is similar to Medicaid but applies solely to children and teens under the age of 19. CHIP can be really crucial if your child has serious medical issues and requires a wide range of prescription drugs. Coverage also varies depending on your state.
- Native Americans
Native Americans can register for health coverage year-round and do not have to wait for the open enrollment period. 94 percent of American Indians/Native Alaskans are enrolled in Medicaid programs in their respective states, while the other six percent typically purchase their insurance, according to HealthInsurance.org.
- Know The Dates For 2018
The open enrollment period for 2018 begins on November 1, 2017 and ends on December 15, 2017. Marking these dates down and creating a plan of action is crucial if you want to register and remain properly informed.
- Make An Appeal
If you tried to register for health coverage but were rejected, you can write an appeal letter explaining the situation and why you should be eligible for insurance. You can find the request form and address on HealthCare.gov.
- Cheaper Is Not Always Better
If you’re purchasing short-term insurance, don’t automatically choose the cheapest option. Make sure to read the fine print and find out if there are any exemptions and take 24 hours to fully read through the literature.
- Hardship Exemption
If you’ve endured a hardship, you may not be required to purchase health insurance outside of the open enrollment period. Examples of hardships include filing for bankruptcy, being evicted, incarcerated or a victim of domestic violence. For a full list of these examples, you can find them at HealthCare.gov.
- Consult A Broker
Sometimes it can be worth it to talk to an expert who can offer insight and advice that you might not find on your own. Insurance brokers know the laws and regulations of the state and can create a plan with you.
Whether you’ve missed the open enrollment period, or you’re trying to prepare for 2018, it’s always important to remain informed and up-to-date regarding the complexities of health insurance. For more trustworthy information, consult HealthQuoteInfo.