How to Get Health Insurance After Open Enrollment
Did you miss open enrollment? Did you just Google ‘open enrollment’? You are not alone. Many people are not aware when open enrollment takes place. Yet since 2013, the Health Insurance Marketplace—a government-sponsored online platform that acts as a one-stop-shop for shoppers to compare and buy healthcare plans—has worked to provide affordable healthcare coverage options for millions of Americans.
The open enrollment period for 2020 is already over.
Many individuals are simply not aware of when (and sometimes where) they can get health insurance coverage. Regrettably, that can sometimes mean having to go a whole year without health insurance because open enrollment is the only time, outside of “qualifying life events” (which we’ll get to), that you can get a health coverage plan.
Gratefully, effective on January 1, 2019, there’s no longer a tax penalty for being uninsured. Still, having health insurance makes financial sense for most residents in the United States. There are many factors that play into this, but one of the most illuminating is that a single physician’s visit can cost close to $200, and hospitals can charge up to $10,000 a night for overnight stays. Without health insurance, paying that would be nearly impossible for many people.
The open enrollment period for 2020 is already over, but that does not mean you are out of options. Read on to learn about special enrollment periods, where to get healthcare if you cannot get it through your job or the Marketplace, and how to get health insurance after open enrollment.
The Healthcare Open Enrollment Period Has Gotten Shorter
Initially, the open enrollment period lasted for six months. Now, people only have a month and a half November 1 to December 15, to enroll in health insurance every year through the Health Insurance Marketplace. If you get health insurance from your job, your open enrollment period may be different, but your human resources department will be able to allow you to know when it is.
Open enrollment can seem like a hassle, but, without it, most individuals would only buy health insurance when they knew they were almost to face high medical bills. By making the open enrollment window shorter, the Marketplace hopes to incentivize more healthy people in the United States to sign up for a full year of insurance, instead of depending on short-term plans (or no plans at all) until they need Medical care.
You May Be Eligible for a Special Enrollment Period
If you missed the open enrollment deadline, there is still an opportunity that you could enroll in health coverage during what’s known as a ‘special enrollment period.’ If you have had a qualifying life change in the past 60 days (like having a baby, getting married, moving, or losing your old insurance coverage), you can use a special enrollment period to get health insurance for 2020.
Worried about how you will pay for your insurance each month? If you have a lower income, you may be able to register in free or low-cost health insurance from the government through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Another plus side of these programs is that enroll whenever you require to, not just during open enrollment.
Short-Term Medical Insurance Plans Are Available Year-Round
You can get a short-term medical plan at any time.
If you do not qualify for a special enrollment period, Medicaid, or CHIP, it may be time to start checking short-term medical plans. You can get a short-term medical plan at any time, and they usually cover you for three to six months. These plans are better than not having insurance at all, but they perhaps won’t give you the same coverage level as a typical yearlong plan would.
Likewise, unlike traditional health insurance plans, short term health insurance plans can refuse to cover pre-existing conditions, which does not precisely help if you are looking for insurance to help you manage a chronic illness or find cheaper treatment for an injury. They may not cover basic healthcare essentials, such as prescription drugs, mental health care, or maternity care.
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