When Does Open Enrollment for Health Insurance End?
Open enrollment for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace usually runs from November 1 to December 15 annually.
Open enrollment for the federal Health Insurance Marketplace usually runs from November 1 to December 15 annually. (Several states, in the past, have prolonged the deadline past December 15.) During the six weeks, consumers are provided with the opportunity to enroll in new healthcare coverage, switch their current health plan to a new one, or apply for cost assistance. Health insurance plans that were enrolled during that time frame take effect on January 1 of the next year.
Since millions of Americans have applied for jobless aid because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are faced with another challenge: losing their health insurance. If you are no longer receiving medical benefits, here’s how to get health insurance after open enrollment for health insurance ends.
Can You Enroll for Health Insurance Outside of Open Enrollment?
It is possible to obtain health insurance or change your Marketplace plan after the open enrollment period only if you experience at least one “life event” that qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period.
It’s significant to note that you may not qualify for cost assistance if you enroll in health coverage after the annual open enrollment period. People who do not qualify for coverage in 2020 through a Special Enrollment Period can enroll in health insurance during regular ACA open enrollment for 2021 starting November 1, 2020.
Additionally, Medicare has a list of qualifying events for a Special Enrollment Period. Nevertheless, unless you have low income (qualifying for a program such as Medicaid, the Medicare Savings Program, or Part D Extra Help), a late enrollment into any part of Medicare B may lead to a higher premium. If you qualify for one of these low-income plans, you may be able to expand your eligibility for certain parts of Medicare, as well, outside of the usual enrollment periods described above.
How to Acquire Health Insurance After Open Enrollment
If you are looking to enroll in a health insurance plan after the open enrollment deadline, here are a few choices:
Marketplace Special Enrollment Period
A qualifying life event for a Special Enrollment Period can be defined as:
- Beginning or ending service as an AmeriCorps State and National, VISTA, or NCCC member.
- Gaining membership in a federally documented tribe or status as an Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Corporation shareholder
- Becoming a United States citizen
- A loss in coverage
- A change in residence
- A change in household (marriage/divorce, having or adopting a baby, etc.)
Medicare Special Enrollment Periods
Enroll for Medicare Part A or Part B within seven months of the time you first become eligible for Medicare through age or disability.
There are separate enrollment periods for persons with Medicare.
- Initial Enrollment Period Enroll for Medicare Part A and/or Part B within seven months of the time you first become eligible for Medicare through age or disability.
- Fall Open Enrollment Period Reexamine and make changes to your Medicare or Medicare Advantage coverage, or your Part D coverage, from October 15 to December 7.
- General Enrollment Period The time period between January 1 and March 31 of every year is when you can register for Medicare Part B for the first time. You may be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (Part C) or a prescription drug (Part D) plan from April 1 to June 30 of the same year with coverage starting on July 1.
Same as Marketplace plans, Medicare also has Special Enrollment Periods. You may be eligible for a Medicare Special Enrollment Period if you meet any of these eligibility requirements, which comprises losing coverage through no fault of your own, moving to or from institutional facilities, and experiencing changes in your eligibility for certain policies.
Short-Term Health Insurance Plans
Also known as term-health insurance or temp insurance, short-term plans are available in some states for buying throughout the year. This kind of coverage can bridge the gap between policies. While these plans do cover others in your family, they are not required to cover the many benefits that are covered by ACA plans (like preventive care, prescription drug coverage, and laboratory services), along with covering preexisting conditions. Short-term insurance plans can be stopped anytime without a penalty. If you lost your health insurance as a result of job loss or changes, you might also qualify for COBRA continuation coverage.
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