What if I Miss Open Enrollment?
First of all, don’t miss Open Enrollment (Nov 1-Dec 15) because you may be stuck waiting another year to buy health insurance if you do. If you are uninsured and are interviewing for a job that provides health insurance, there are no guarantees you’ll get the job, so you’re better off signing up for health insurance on your own and canceling your coverage once you actually have a job. Plus, sometimes companies have probationary periods, typically about three months, before your benefits kick in. Do you want to be exposed to accidents and illnesses for three months?
Ask questions if you’re interviewing for jobs so you know where you stand with your health plan options. Remember that having minimal health insurance is better than having none because one accident or downturn in your health may turn into astronomical figures when it comes to healthcare expenses. You’ll still be out of some cash but at least there will be a cap or deductible, saving you thousands of dollars.
If you’ve been putting off the task of buying health insurance, or if you’re hesitant to pay all that money now that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not require you to be insured, compare health insurance rates here so you can find the cheapest health insurance plans. It’s better to have minimal insurance than none at all.
However, you may be reading this article after Open Enrollment ended. If that’s the case, you may still be able to buy health insurance if you have had one of several events in your life.
Qualifying Events for Buying Health Insurance if You Miss Open Enrollment
- If You Lost or Quit a Job. Let’s say you just started a job and won’t have health insurance for 3 months, it’s wise to buy health insurance and cancel your plan when your work’s health insurance kicks in. Especially if you have a chronic condition, medical bills and expenses can add up fast. You may be able to find a barebones plan at a Bronze if you’re worried about emergency situations only, but it’s not advised that you go without, even for a few months. If you quit your job, get laid off or fired and have no work health plan outside of the open enrollment period, you can buy health insurance then too.
- If You Turn 26 and Get Bumped Off Parents’ Plan. Many young people have taken advantage of the new ACA provision that allows young people to stay on their parent’s health insurance plans until they turn 26. If for you, that even falls after Open Enrollment, you can wait until your birthday to buy a separate policy.
- If You Move Out of an HMO Coverage Area or to Another State. Basically, if your health insurance carrier will drop you when you move, you’re eligible to sign up with another healthcare plan. If you are a seasonal worker and move to and from the place where you work and live, you can sign up with a new health insurance plan.
- If You Moved to a Shelter. If you moved to or from any type of transitional housing, you are eligible to buy new health insurance.
- If Your Cobra Coverage Ends. You are eligible to sign up for a new health plan if your coverage ends outside of the Open Enrollment period.
- If You Get Divorced. Often, couples share a healthcare plan. If you shared one with your spouse but get divorced outside of the Open Enrollment Period, you can buy new health insurance.
- If You Get Married. If you get married outside of the Open Enrollment Period, you can most likely get added to your spouse’s health plan.
- If You Have a Baby or Adopt a Child or Place a Child in Foster Care. If you gave birth or adopted a child outside of the Open Enrollment Period, you can still buy health insurance for up to 60 days after the event. The same goes for bringing a child into your home as a new arrangement with a former spouse.
- If Your Partner or Spouse Dies. Because that person’s health insurance coverage would be terminated, you are able to buy new health insurance if you shared a policy with the partner or spouse who passed away.
- If Your Partner or Spouse Loss Coverage. If your spouse loses coverage, for any reason, you will be eligible to shop for an individual plan or buy coverage with that spouse or partner outside of the Open Enrollment Period.
- If You Lost Eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP. Yay! You’re in a higher tax bracket now, but you no longer qualify for Medicaid or CHIP but you can buy a new health plan.
- If You Lost Eligibility for Medicare. If you lose your eligibility for Medicare after the Open Enrollment period, you can opt to enroll in an individual health plan.
Whether you can do it within the Open Enrollment Period or not, you’ll want to get as many health insurance quotes as possible before you buy. You can do this online in just three minutes here.
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Most states have followed the lead of the federal government and only a handful of states have their own individual mandate. If you live in one of the following states, you may have to pay a tax penalty for having no health insurance in 2020.
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It’s always a good idea to get acquainted with the way plans are set up and what you’re responsible to pay before open enrollment which takes place in late fall. If you have a qualifying event, like a new job or if you’ve moved, had a baby, gotten divorced or had any life change that affect your coverage, you may be able to buy a new health insurance plan today.
Like auto and homeowners insurance healthcare insurance also has a deductible which needs to be paid before insurance begins to cover expenses. However, healthcare deductibles work a little differently. For instance, your healthcare insurance will pay for some services even before you meet your deductible.
You may be shopping for health insurance because you got a new job, which doesn’t offer health insurance. Some people even prefer to have a health plan separate from their jobs. It’s usually a more expensive option to buy an individual health insurance policy when an employer offers to pay a portion of your premiums each month. However, some people prefer to choose their own insurance company and a plan that fits their needs.