Every year, Americans have a limited opportunity to sign up for health insurance during the Open Enrollment Period from November 1st to December 15th. Unfortunately, this is the same time of year that things can get really hectic around the house, causing lots of people to miss open enrollment.
Meanwhile, others skip the deadline simply because they can’t afford health insurance.
In either case, going without health insurance altogether is a bad idea. For the uninsured, even a small accident can lead to a lifetime of insurmountable medical bills.
Can I still get health insurance if I miss open enrollment?
No matter what the reason, if you think you’ve missed Open Enrollment last month, you still have some options:
2021 Open Enrollment is extended through August 15th
Special enrollment periods: New coverage for ‘qualified life events’
For some individuals, there might still be a chance to enroll in health insurance even though Open Enrollment has ended. Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) were designed to make health insurance available to people who are going through qualified life events.
If you qualify for an SEP, then you can still enroll in an insurance plan or change your plan options. Qualified life events include:
- Getting married: You have 60 days to pick a new plan, which will begin on the first day of the following month.
- Having a baby or adopting a child: You can pick a new plan that will begin on the day of the event, but you still have 60 days to enroll.
- Getting divorced or legally separated: If you lose coverage due to a divorce or legal separation.
- Death of a plan member: If someone on your plan dies and you become ineligible as a result.
- Change of residence: If you move to a new ZIP code.
- Lose your job or eligibility: If you lose your job or your eligibility for Medicaid or Medicare.
In every case, you have 60 days to enroll in a new plan. After that, you will have to wait for the next Open Enrollment period to sign up.
Not sure if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period? Your Personal Benefits Manager can help you determine eligibility.
Short term health insurance plans: An affordable safety net to keep you covered
Short term health insurance policies are designed to give people an option to stay covered while they are waiting for new plans to be available, whether it’s through Open Enrolment, a new job, or other life events.
The biggest benefits of a short-term plan include low premiums, immediate enrollment, and highly flexible options.
But short-term plans are not comprehensive coverage. These are best for individuals who are relatively healthy who intend to purchase a larger policy down the road. While some short-term plans can be renewed for up to 3 years, most plans expire after only 30 or 90 days. If your short-term plan expires and there are still a few months to go before Open Enrollment, you could still face a coverage gap.
In addition, not all states offer short-term plans. Your PBM can help you understand what is available in your area.
Health care sharing plans (Healthshare): A year-round alternative to health insurance
Unlike health insurance, health care cost sharing plans are available year-round.
These innovative plans are not health insurance at all, allowing them to skip all those ACA deadlines and mandates. The result is simple and affordable health care that is about half the cost of individual insurance.
Health sharing is a great option for anyone looking to save some money, but they are not ideal for everyone. Some of the limitations include waiting periods for certain pre-existing conditions, and a required statement of faith or statement of intent to get enrolled.
Compare Pricing on the Best Healthshare Plans Available
Don’t go without coverage. Call your Personal Benefits Manager today
With everything going on in the world, there are more people than ever who are headed into the new year without adequate health protection. Going without coverage can save you a few bucks, but it can also be absolutely devastating to your saving account or retirement plan.
Whether you missed the deadline on accident or simply could not afford to keep your plan, we can help you find a solution. Your Personal Benefits Manager is standing by with all the info. With a quick, no-cost consultation, you can get health care protection in as little as 24 hours in some cases.
Call 800-913-0172, or click the link to schedule an appointment.
Here are some additional articles related to open enrollment: The Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period | Healthcare Options Outside Open Enrollment | Health Insurance Changes Starting April 1ˢᵗ 2021 | Did You Receive Unemployment Benefits in 2021? Here’s How to Get $0 Health Insurance for the Next Two Years