After six and a half months, the end is finally here. Obamacare open enrollment officially closed on April 15, 2014, after a two week delay to account for tech errors in the days leading up to the original deadline of 3/31/2014. What does this mean for you, the insurance consumer?
- Open enrollment is now over, meaning you cannot buy ACA qualifying health insurance as an individual until November 15th, 2014. This is for BOTH on and off exchange programs.
- ….unless you have a “Qualifying Event” in your life. Things like marriage, divorce, childbirth, adoption, moving, large changes in income or losing your qualified health plan. When something like this happens, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period that allows you to purchase insurance
- Not all of these things automatically entitle you to a Special Enrollment Period. For instance, losing your health plan because you didn’t make the payments will not qualify you for an SEP. However, losing the plan because you moved and it’s no longer offered in the service area will trigger an SEP.
- There is no open enrollment restriction for: dental insurance, vision insurance, life insurance, long term care insurance, disability income protection, short term medical insurance, travel insurance, etc. The only product affected by this new change is individual health insurance.
By now you may be asking “What if I need health insurance during the period between open enrollments?” You do still have some resources
- short term medical insurance- this product is usually offered on a month to month basis up to one year, or can be paid for in advance for a discount. Coverage can begin within a day or two of signing up. However, these plans still ask you to answer health questions, meaning you can be denied.
- group insurance- qualified groups can still enroll year round. If you own a business, you may be eligible for a small group health plan, even if your company is very small
- association programs- depending on your affiliations, some associations may have a health plan specific to you that you can sign up for during the offseason.
As always, visit www.quotebroker.com or call us at 800-783-0802 for more detailed information on your specific case.