Missed Marketplace Open Enrollment? Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Panic Over Health Insurance

Your window to open enroll in a Marketplace health insurance plan for 2018 ended on December 15, 2017.

While almost 12 million people enrolled before the deadline, there are certainly many people who didn’t make it.

If you missed the boat, don’t panic.

You may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

Here are the four types of qualifying life events that make you eligible for a SEP.

1. A loss of health coverage.

There are a variety of reasons you could lose your health insurance.

  • A job loss.
  • No longer being eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP.
  • Losing coverage through your parents when you turn 26.
  • Your insurer leaving the market.

2. Changes in your household.

Life can be unpredictable.

You never know what’s coming around the next bend.

Fortunately, the government allows for these special circumstances.

Any of these situations will make you eligible for the Special Enrollment Period.

  • Getting married.
  • Getting divorced.
  • Having a baby.
  • Adopting a child.
  • A death in the family.

3. Moving to a new residence

While you’ll likely know about a move well ahead of time, you can still take advantage of the Special Enrollment Period for certain kinds of moves.

  • Moving to a different county or zip code.
  • You’re a student, moving to and from your school.
  • You’re a seasonal worker moving to and from your place of work and your home.
  • Moving to or from a shelter or other transition housing.

4. General qualifying life events

There are some situations that don’t neatly fit into another category.

  • A change in your income that affects the type of coverage for which you qualify.
  • Becoming a citizen of the United States.
  • Getting out of jail or prison.

Short-term insurance

If you miss your opportunity to enroll and you don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, your options are much more limited.

A short-term plan can only be used for a maximum of three months but can come in handy for filling in the gaps.

If you’re in a difficult position, short-term insurance can have some benefits.

    • It’s immediate. Often, plans will kick in as soon as the next day.
    • It’s affordable. You can choose from a variety of premiums and deductibles.
    • It’s flexible. You can use the doctors and hospitals that you’re comfortable with. It also covers a range of services, surgery, outpatient and inpatient care.
    • It’s easy. The process is quick and there are only a few questions to answer concerning your health status.
    • It’s extendable. You can get coverage for longer than three months, though there is a downside. Technically, you’ll be starting over with a new plan. Any medical issues that came up during your initial coverage period would be considered a “pre-existing condition” and likely not be covered by the new plan.

Your only other option is to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period for Marketplace insurance.

Additional considerations

Keep in mind that to take advantage of the SEP, you’ll have to provide documentation for some of the qualifying life events.

It’s also important to note that you can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) at any time during the year.

The bottom line

You can’t always control the circumstances that come in life.

If you miss the Marketplace insurance Open Enrollment Period, you may qualify for the Special Enrollment Period.

If you find yourself in this situation, your best bet is to get in touch with a trusted insurance agent to discuss your options.

Are you wondering if you can qualify for the special enrollment period?

Protect Your Family

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