Maximize your HSA e-Newsletter
Vol. 14, Issue 1
Open Enrollment and Alternatives to Missed Deadlines
Open enrollment to sign up for a traditional insurance plan ended over two weeks ago on December 15th. However, there are a few exceptions namely: Colorado, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Washington, Massachusetts, California, Washington D.C, and New York. You can view the specific deadline for each state here.
If you’ve missed the deadline or will miss the deadline, you’ll have fewer options, but there are still some alternative ways to make sure you’re covered for the upcoming year.
Mandate Still in Force for 2018
The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) requires everyone to carry insurance. Even though the mandate requiring everyone to purchase government-approved health insurance was repealed, this will not take effect until 2019, leaving this upcoming year unchanged.
Anyone who does not have either a government-approved health insurance plan, or who is not a member of a healthshare, will be subject to a penalty up to 2.5% of their income.
Special Enrollment Period
If you’re already outside of the open enrollment period but need to get traditional health insurance coverage, you need to experience a qualifying event (i.e. change of income or job, the birth of a child) that entitles you to a two-month special enrollment period.
If your policy was terminated by your carrier, you also qualify for this special enrollment period.
If you voluntarily drop your insurance plan or do not pay your premiums, this does not allow you to qualify for a special enrollment period. You will have to wait until the next enrollment period to choose a new plan or consider alternative health care options such as a short-term health plan or a healthshare.
Healthshares as an Alternative to Traditional Insurance
Healthshares are a great option to consider if the cost of health insurance has become too high, or if you missed open enrollment.
With healthshares, a monthly fee is paid like traditional insurance. That money is kept in a collective pot, which is then used to pay for qualifying medical expenses of the members. It revolves around the concept of sharing the burden and helping the community (many are religious and some even require members to sign a statement of shared beliefs).
Healthshares are less comprehensive, so many don’t cover things like pre-existing conditions and birth control. Ultimately, healthshares work best for relatively healthy individuals. For those whose needs best fit healthshares, members might end up saving half that of what they paid for traditional insurance.
Not Set in Stone
Nothing is set in stone. If you feel like you’re trapped in insurance or doomed because you missed the deadline, keep in mind that there are other options. For those in the eight states with extended deadlines, make sure to decide the best option by considering the traditional but also the alternatives.
If you need help making an informed decision, just reach out to your Personal Benefits Manager.
Wiley P. Long, III
President – HSA for America
The HSA for America Maximize Your HSA Newsletter is published monthly and emailed to subscribers at no charge. Subscribe now to stay on top of the critical information you need to know about health insurance, healthshare plans and managing your finances to achieve financial security.
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