Open enrollment is an annual period where individuals can enroll in, make changes to, or cancel their insurance plans. Open enrollment applies to anyone who wants to make changes to their insurance, as well as individuals who participate in the government’s Marketplace health plans. Typically, you are not allowed to change your insurance plan outside of open enrollment. But what happens If you miss the deadline?
If you need to change or get health insurance outside of the open enrollment period, you may still be able to if you have experienced a qualifying event.
About Qualifying Events
A qualifying event is a life change that allows you to get health insurance outside of the typical open enrollment period.
For example, if you:
- Had a baby, adopted a child, or placed a child for foster care
- Got divorced or legally separated (but only if it cost you your healthcare coverage)
- The primary on your insurance has passed away
- Moved to a new zip code or county, to the US from a foreign country or territory, as a student to or away from campus, or as a seasonal worker moving for work
- Are going into or leaving transitional housing or a shelter
- Lost your job (pending specific situations)
…You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. However, if your qualifying event is due to moving, you must be able to prove you had health insurance for one or more days during the 60 days before your move.
Important: If you lost coverage more than 60 days ago, but since January 1, 2020, and didn’t enroll sooner because you were impacted by the COVID-19 emergency declared by FEMA, you may still qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Alternatives to Buying A Traditional Plan
When you lose your healthcare coverage due to changes in your job situation, such as a layoff, being terminated (as long as the termination was not for gross misconduct or reduction in employment hours), or quitting, if you work for a company or government entity that employs more than 20 people, you may be eligible to continue using your employer’s health insurance coverage after the qualifying event that separates you from your employer.
However, COBRA insurance typically has a high cost because you have to pay the full premium, including the portion your employer previously paid on your behalf and up to 2% for administrative fees.
Short-Term Health Insurance
You can always get short-term health insurance to cover the lapse between your current insurance and a new insurance plan. You can quickly apply and may quickly get approved, you can get a quote online for it in minutes, and your coverage can potentially start the day of the qualifying event. You can also apply any time—not just during an open-enrollment window, as is the case with traditional health care plans.
A few drawbacks are included, however. You can be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, and it may not cover certain health benefits that you require, such as maternity or mental health services. Short term insurance is also, as it states, short term- meaning it’s only offered for one month to under one year, depending on your locality. There may also be limitations to the dollar amount covered.
Navigating the world of health insurance can be confusing, and it’s important you get the right plan to fit your needs. Why not get online and get free assistance from a qualified specialist? You can get a list of choices immediately, and have professional assistance every step of the way.