How to Enroll in Health Insurance After Open Enrollment Has Closed

The much-publicized deadline to enroll in health insurance has come and gone.  Consumers now enter a new world where they can no longer enroll in health insurance or jump between health insurance carriers freely.  However, there are still ways to get health insurance in the new “offseason” created by the Affordable Care Act.

  • Special Enrollment Periods for those with Qualifying Events
  • Group Insurance
  • Short-term health insurance

Today’s focus is on Short Term health insurance.  Short term health insurance, in most cases, does not have the 10 Essential Health Benefits and is thus not “ACA compliant” and does not count as Minimum Essential Coverage. This may sound entirely bad for you as the consumer, but there are some advantages to not being classified as Minimum Essential Coverage

  • Insurance carriers can offer short term coverage year-round
  • Because they are not bound by the metal tier system, short term plans can be more flexible in offering different plans and rates, allowing you to customize a plan to your liking withouto fitting into one of the five ACA benefit tiers.

Short Term plans are commonly used to bridge the gap between two other insurance policies.  If you just got a new job and have to wait several months for your plan to start, Short Term coverage can give you peace of mind until the new plan kicks in.

  Short Term plans are offered in two forms:

  • Month to month, with a maximum number of months depending on your state
  • Lump sum- paying for the entire policy up front can often save you a significant percentage of the total premium

There are some downsides to short term plans:

  • Medical underwriting can still be used for short term plans, meaning you can be denied for a pre-existing condition
  • you can only be on a short term plan a certain number of times per time period, and a certain number of months consecutively. These exact figures vary by state.
  • Short Term plans are not ACA compliant, and thus for purposes of the penalty tax, you are considered uninsured.

While not for everyone, Short Term plans can be a great option for those in a transitional phase between two plans, those who missed the deadline to enroll but want a safety net in case they become sick or injured, and those who want more flexibility in plan choice, among others.

As always, visit or call 800-783-0802 for more information on Short Term health insurance plans.