Open Enrollment or open season, is a time of the year when you can sign up for health insurance or change your plan. Also, it is usually occurring once a year, when employees of companies and organizations may make changes to their elected fringe benefit options, such as health insurance
Many individuals aren’t aware that there is an enrollment period for health insurance through the public market. Open Enrollment is the period of time from November to December where people can sign up for health insurance on the public market; as well as secure a subsidy (financial assistance) through the government for their health insurance.
It is imperative that you don’t miss this deadline; otherwise you will have to wait an entire year for the next open enrollment period to secure health coverage – leaving yourself or your family at risk for being thousands out of pocket – or receive- not receiving treatment.
Can I Sign Up For Health Insurance after Open Enrollment?
Open Enrollment for 2020 plans is over, but you may still be able to enroll in two ways with a special enrollment period, which usually lasts 60 days from the date of a qualifying life event, or through Medicaid or the children’s Health Insurance Program.
Moreover, you can sign for Health Insurance After Open Enrollment with a special enrollment period like losing health coverage, getting married, having a baby, or losing eligibility for other health coverage. Through Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Also, you can apply for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid and CHIP, any time, all year, if you qualify, you can enroll immediately.
Why Is There An Open Enrollment Period?
Well; there isn’t a clear definitive answer for why the government has certain systems in place; as there is no system without a flaw. However; the main idea behind an open enrollment period is to insure that people are paying towards their health insurance to be able to use it.
Health care needs funding in order to be able to cover the cost of incidents in treatment. Similar to how you can’t get auto insurance after a car accident to file a claim, you can’t apply for health insurance to cover a bill after the incident.
This is simply to ensure that the healthcare system itself is consistently behind funded by its citizens or people using the plan.
In the other hand, Open Enrollment it is an opportunity to change your Medical, Dental, and Life coverage. It’s also an opportunity for your organization to modify your plan configuration and start with new benefits.
Finally, the purpose of Open Enrollment is to ensure that all employees receive a comprehensive overview of the benefit offerings to make informed decisions on the best benefits for themselves and their families.
What Happens If I Miss Open Enrollment?
If you miss the open enrollment deadline, you could lose your coverage, and you would be unable to make changes. Moreover, you probably cannot sign up for health insurance until the next open enrollment period unless you experience a qualifying event.
Can I Still Get Health Insurance After Open Enrollment?
Outside of open enrollment, there are various ways that you can still secure a health insurance plan. You can still get public insurance or a subsidy if you qualify for special enrollment; otherwise, the private market is in fact open all year round.
You can get insurance after open Enrollment through Medicaid or CHIP. They are available throughout the year, and if you qualify for one or both of these programs, Enrollment can begin immediately. For more information, feel free to visit the following website: www.healthcare.gov
How Do I Qualify for a Special Enrollment Period?
You can qualify for a special Enrollment Period, for example, losing health coverage, getting married or divorced, having a baby, or adopting a child, moving to a new area that provides different plans, or even when you become a U.S citizen.
Other examples include facing a change concerning your income or household status, or being no longer covered on family member’s policy because you turned 26 years old.
Special Enrollment Qualifications
In order to qualify for public insurance or have the ability to apply for a subsidy outside of open enrollment; you must have experienced or be experiencing a life qualifying event. These events are listed below;
Loss of Coverage
If you involuntarily lose your health insurance for whatever reason outside of the open enrollment period you can qualify for special enrollment and secure a health care plan through the public marketplace.
Change in Income
This could be caused by a number of things. Whether it is a loss of a job, or willingly change in jobs, or even a divorce shifting you from a double income household to a single income household – anything that results in a change of total household income can also qualify you for special enrollment.
As the price of public market plans are calculated by total household income and household size, a change in household members can also qualify you. This could be caused by a birth or death in the family, a pregnancy, a marriage or a divorce.
If you are to become a US citizen outside of the open enrollment period you will be eligible to secure health insurance through the US government for the first time; thus qualifying you for special enrollment.
Private Insurance Options
Unlike the public market place, the private market is open for enrollment all year round and has no fixed open enrollment period. Private insurance qualify you based on health history, but also offer short terms plans for people who need the marketplace for a subsidy or to cover major medical conditions. The short term options may not be ideal – but they will provide security for emergency situations until the next Open Enrollment.
Regardless; if you are in decent health and don’t qualify for a subsidy on the public market, the cost of premiums can be very expensive and so the private market can offer more affordable rates than the public marketplace.
Now; whether or not it’s open enrollment; similar to how the private market functions; health care advisors work year round to assist people in obtaining information about health insurance options.
If you find yourself without coverage at any point in the year, open enrollment or not – don’t be afraid to ask the Art of Insurance.
Anisa Ahmed is assisting Dalton and his team in providing quality affordable health care across the Untied States on a daily basis. Prior to working with health care; Ahmed earned a BA in English, with a focus in creative writing, and has 5 years experience working in professional writing as well as 3 years teaching English to Public High Schools. Now she uses her expertise from both fields to continue to assist the public through education and writing.