Is It Too Late to Buy Health Insurance For 2020?
Outside of the annual open enrollment period, many Americans are still shopping for – and purchasing – health insurance. Here’s how.
Open enrollment for 2020 health insurance has ended in all states.
Millions of Americans have chosen Affordable Care Act-compliant plans through the exchanges — and outside the exchanges — during open enrollment. But there are still many Americans who do not have coverage, and the uninsured rate has been increasing from 2017, due to the Trump Administration’s style of healthcare reform.
If you do not sign up for health insurance during open enrollment health insurance 2020, you may have to wait until next November to sign up for a plan that will start the following January. But you may find that you can still get a plan for 2020, even after open enrollment ends.
Native Americans, those eligible for Medicaid/CHIP can enroll year-round
Native Americans can enroll in exchange coverage year-round.
And persons who are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP can also enroll at any time. Income limits are fairly high for CHIP eligibility, so ensure you check your state’s eligibility limits before assuming that your children would not be eligible – benefits very much extend to middle-class households.
And in states where Medicaid has been expanded, a single person earning up to $17,236 can enroll in Medicaid. (This amount of money will be higher after the FPL numbers for 2020 become available)
A Qualifying Event at any Time of The Year Will Likely to Let You to Enroll
Individuals who experience a qualifying event gain access to a special enrollment period (SEP) to buy plans in the exchange (or off-exchange, in most cases) with premium subsidies available in exchange for eligible enrollees.
HHS stepped up enforcement of special enrollment period eligibility verification in 2016 and further increased the eligibility authentication process in 2017. Thus, if you experience a qualifying event, be ready to provide proof of it when you enroll.
Although a permanent move to a location where different health plans are available used to trigger a SEP irrespective of whether you had coverage prior to the move, that’s no longer the case. You must have coverage in force before your move to qualify for a SEP in your new area. This is similar to getting married: In many cases, at least one spouse must have already had coverage for the marriage to trigger a SEP.
But without a qualifying event, the health insurance plan is not accessible outside of general open enrollment, on or off-exchange.
Unfortunately, this fact has caught most persons by surprise over the last few years. And the open enrollment schedules changed almost every year for the first five years of ACA implementation, which further added to the confusion.
The initial open enrollment period was six months long; the second and third were three months, but the dates were different. And while the fourth open enrollment period preceded the same schedule as the third, the fifth (for 2018 coverage) was dramatically shorter as compared to open enrollment had been in previous years. That shorter open enrollment period has continued to be used so that persons will become more used to it over time. But the individual market is inherently volatile — individuals shift in and out of it depending on their life circumstances and access to other coverage — which makes it more challenging to ensure that people who need to purchase coverage are fully aware of the rules.
If you are curious about your eligibility for a particular enrollment period, contact us to discuss your situation with a licensed insurance professional.
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