Can You Cancel Health Insurance Anytime?

Fran
Lucy Lazarony
November 18, 2020

Whether or not you can cancel is easy. Yes, you can. But can you buy another plan? The largely answer depends on whether or not you have private insurance or health insurance through an employer. While you can cancel your private health insurance at any time, you won’t be able to select a new health plan outside of the open enrollment period unless you meet certain qualifying reasons. The same is true for a company’s open enrollment period, which is not necessarily the same as your state’s open enrollment period. If you’re buying insurance privately, you can only buy it during your state’s open enrollment, usually around November 1 to December 15 but deadlines vary. A company’s open enrollment period can be any time of the year.

Outside of open enrollment, the only way changes can be made to a work health plan are when employees are hired, when employees leave the company and if the employee has a qualifying event in his or her life. If you do have a qualified change during the year, you have 30 days to make changes to your health plan. If you miss this 30-day window you’ll have to wait until your company’s open enrollment period comes around again.

Qualified events include getting married, the death of a spouse, a legal separation, a divorce or annulment. A change in dependents is also a qualifying change so if you or spouse gives birth or you adopt a child you will be able to change your health plan outside the open enrollment period. If your spouse changes his or her employment status such as going part-time, quitting a job or being laid off, you’ll be able to make a change to your health plan outside open enrollment.

If you change residences and you are changing health plans because your old health plan isn’t available in your new area, you’ll be able to change health plans outside the open enrollment period. But there are changes that aren’t allowed outside open enrollment. For example, your teenager going off to an out-of-state college is not a reason to change your health plan outside open enrollment. A change of health plan is also not permitted outside the enrollment period if you buy health insurance outside your employer’s plan.

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How to Cancel Obamacare

Let’s say you get a new job that offers healthcare and you won’t need to get coverage from the Health Insurance Marketplace, known as Obamacare, any longer. You can feel free to cancel your Obamacare health plan at any time. This is also the case if you are enrolling in Medicare and want to leave Obamacare. You can terminate your healthcare coverage through Healthcare.gov or buy calling customer service at 1-800-318-2596. Wait to cancel your Marketplace plan until you know the date that your new insurance starts. You can even schedule to cancel your Marketplace plan on the exact date when your new employer coverage begins. You also can choose to cancel your Marketplace plan the same day you put in the cancellation notice.

How to Cancel Private Health Plans

Call your insurance company and let them know you will be cancelling your health insurance policy. Not sure of the number? Check on the back of your insurance card.

Check your policy’s terms of cancellation to understand the steps you need to take. Most companies require that you call them directly when canceling a health plan.

Gather up all the information you will need including the name of the health plan, your policy number and any security questions attached to your account. Follow the cancellation steps as guided by the insurance representative that you reach. Some insurance companies may require that you fax or mail them a letter confirming the cancellation.

Write down confirmation numbers and the name of the insurance representative that you spoke to and the date. Find out about refunds or any pre-payments. If you paid in full for a one-year policy and you want to cancel before the policy ends, ask the insurance representative about being reimbursed for the remaining months. Many insurance companies will offer you a refund.

Do not cancel your old policy until you have a new policy in place. Take the time to review the new policy. Make sure it is giving you the coverage that you need. Check your credit and bank statements to make sure you are not being billed for your old health plan coverage after you cancel your health plan.

Using Short Term Insurance

If you’ve already cancelled your old healthcare coverage and a new employer health plan doesn’t start for a couple of months, you may want to consider a short term health plan, which will give you coverage for unexpected illnesses and accidents. You can enroll in short term health insurance any time of the year and this may give you the temporary health insurance you are looking for.

Match Medical Needs with Your Next Health Plan

Did you quit your last health plan policy because it wasn’t meeting your medical needs? This time, you’ll find a plan that is right for you and your family. Make a list of all your most pressing medical needs, write down prescriptions that you need, specialists you need to see. These are the things you need covered with your next health plan and at an affordable rate. When you shop for a new plan these services and their costs should be on the top of your list.

Choose a health plan that best meets your medical needs and fits your budget. And you’ll be all set for the upcoming year. Each year, you’ll want to reassess your medical needs. Are you happy with your health plan? If yes, stick with your plan. If not, it is time to go shopping again. Make a list of your most pressing medical needs and then start comparing health plans. You’ll find the plan for you and your family once you do a little bit of comparison shopping.

Compare health plans from several insurance companies before you choose the best one.

SmartFinancial can help you compare private health insurance plans with ease. So once you know the health coverage you are looking for let SmartFinancial help you find insurance at the best rate. SmartFinancial has access to more than 200 insurance companies so you are bound to find the health plan coverage and cost that you are looking for.

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