enrollment period for MedicaidMost people rush to get their health insurance coverage on the last day of open enrollment. Often, there would be long queues and delays in processing the countless applications made on this last day of open enrollment. To avoid such a situation, it is essential to note the following important dates:

  • November 1st, 2020 – Open Enrollment starts during this window, you can enroll, re-enroll, or change a 2021 insurance plan via the Health Insurance Marketplace. Coverage may begin on January 1, 2021.
  • December 15th, 2020 – this is usually the last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2021.

Do you Need 2020 Coverage Outside of Open Enrollment?

You can get health coverage if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period because of a qualifying life event such as getting married, losing other coverage, or having a baby. Don’t you qualify for a special enrollment period? Need less coverage? We have you covered!

Short Term Coverage

You can apply for a short-term insurance plan for the rest of the year. Alternatively, you can start on January 1st. These plans are cheaper than most individual ACA plans but do not cover some of the crucial health benefits like maternity coverage. These plans are your best option if you do not qualify for a special enrollment period at the moment.

Medicaid and CHIP – Apply Any Time

It is worth noting that there is no limited enrollment period for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Notably, you can apply at any time.

Health Insurance Exemptions for 2020

The individual mandate was canceled for 2019. That means that Americans without health coverage in 2019 will not be subjected to a tax penalty. The new CMS rules, titled, “Final 2019 payment notice rule to increase access to affordable health plans for Americans suffering from high Obamacare premiums,” can possibly save you from paying a tax penalty this year. The new rule gives exemptions to residents living in counties where no health insurance companies offer coverage, or only one insurance company offers coverage. 

Special Enrollment PeriodHowever, a handful of states have their own individual mandate: 

  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • California
  • Rhode Island
  • New Jersey 
  • Vermont

You may be penalized at tax time if you do not have health insurance in those states. 

Verification for Premium Tax Credits

The final CMS rule will also attempt to enhance the Advanced Premium Tax Credits (APTC) program’s integrity. It hopes to do this by “implementing stronger checks” that would take stronger measures to verify anyone applying for Advanced Premium Tax Credits earn the income they are claiming. The new implementation will also disqualify any applicant who fails to file taxes or reconcile prior APTCs.

What are the Health Insurance Options Available?

You have the following options depending on your situation

Renew Your Current Policy

During the open enrollment period, you can keep your current health insurance as long as it is still being offered. You do not have to do anything if you want to keep what you have. However, your current plan may be changing. Watch the mail for a letter about any adjustments your plan intends to make in 2020. Purchase an individual policy through a marketplace or directly from an authorized insurance provider.

Make Changes to Your Employer-Based Group Health Insurance

open enrollment periodIf you get your health insurance through your employer, the open enrollment period for the government-operated marketplaces and Affordable Care Act plans will not affect you. You are required to sign up for coverage during your employer’s open enrollment period.

Change your Medicare plan

If you are enrolled in Medicare and want to make a change in your plan – including switching to Medicare Advantage (Part C) or adding prescription drug coverage (Part D) – you must sign up during the open enrollment period.

Buy a Short-Term Health Plan (for a long time)

Short-term health insurance plans were formerly only available to young people or those who could not afford any other kind of health insurance. Starting in 2019, all people have access to short-term plans. Starting 2020, various states will offer short-term plans for up to 36 months which is technically longer than an ACA plan. For more information, contact health insurance today!

References and Resources 

short-term insurance plan

open enrollment period