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The open enrollment period to sign up for 2019 health insurance is over, having run between 1 November and 15 January in most states. But what happens if you failed, for whatever reason, to enroll and now you are left without any health coverage? Do you have to stay uncovered for the duration of the year?
With the help of an experienced health insurance agent, you can comb through all the detailed options that are still available to you. We want to give you the basic overview, and that's just two main options: qualifying for a special enrollment period or buying a short term health insurance plan.
Do I Qualify For Special Enrollment?
If you've missed your state's final deadline for open enrollment 2019, there still may be a way to get the insurance policy you want. If you recently gave birth to a child, adopted a child, got married, moved to a new home, or lost your job-based health coverage, you will likely qualify for a SEP (Special Enrollment Period) for 2019 coverage.
This means you can enroll up to 60 days after the relevant life event, and with job-based plans at least 30 days afterward, for an ACA (Affordable Care Act) exchange or other health plans.
Also note that if you are looking for Medicaid coverage or for CHIP cover for a child, you can enroll anytime because those types of plans have no enrollment periods or deadlines.
Should I Buy Short Term Health Insurance?
If you can't get approved for special enrollment, another possibility is to purchase a short term health insurance plan for 2019. Since recent rule changes were made, you can get short term plans that last 12 months in most states and renew up to a total of 36 months if necessary, or if you just don't want a regular ACA plan.
However, note that there have been some state-level restrictions and adjustment that apply to short term plans in 2019. Some states have restricted them, like California which banned short term plans entirely beginning on 1 January of this year, Hawaii which disallows short term plans IF you qualified for a regular plan during the previous year, and Maryland which now limits short term plans to 3 months only without the option to renew.
Missouri limits short term plans to 6 months, and an attempt to expand that to 12 months failed in 2018. Virginia also tried to allow 12-month short term plans, but the governor vetoed the bill. And Minnesota lets you have short term insurance as long as it’s 185 days at a time but no more than 365 days out of a 555 day period.
Talk To An Insurance Broker Today!
You could also consider buying accident or illness indemnity insurance or pursuing another type of insurance in 2019, whether in place of or alongside regular health insurance.
The details of the law and of the policy terms on all of the different health insurance options mentioned above is quite complex. It's difficult for the uninitiated to make the best possible decision in a reasonable amount of time - and you don't want to delay getting 2019 health coverage any longer than you have to!
Talking to an expert, independent insurance agent, like those at Summerlin Benefits Consulting, can help clear things up and put you in a better position to make the right decision!