Your Individual Health Insurance Options Outside of Open Enrollment

With the individual health insurance market transitioning to open enrollment periods (ended on January 31, 2017), a common misconception has developed in that potential insureds believe they don’t have an opportunity to enroll into any sort of individual health insurance plan at this time.

Some may find that they qualify for a special enrollment period if a qualifying life event has occurred.  Events include:

-          Getting married or divorced

-          Having a baby, adopting a child, placing a child for adoption or foster care

-          Moving into a new state, gaining citizenship or being released from incarceration

-          Or most commonly, the following, including losing employer based  coverage via job         change/loss/retirement, COBRA expiration, losing eligibility for state programs or turning 26 and losing coverage from parent’s plan

It is worth noting that if you have a qualifying event, you have a sixty day window from date of event to complete enrollment into an individual plan.  Additionally, most carriers (as well as state exchange) do require a “proof of loss” or “proof of event” letter demonstrating the qualifying life event.

The Healthplanfinder (state exchange) periodically grants special enrollment periods for certain groups of people to take advantage of premium subsidies.  So far, special enrollment periods have permeated for those who were unable to complete their application due to technical errors during open enrollment (ended May 1st), folks currently enrolled in COBRA (ended June 30) and currently those who had their domestic partnership transitioned into a marriage (ending August 31st).

For those who do not fall into one of the aforementioned categories, your options are more limited outside of open enrollment.  The good news is that our office can help you enroll in a Short Term Medical plan.  These plans are specifically designed to bridge the gap between richer plans, offering peace of mind that coverage is in place and providing cost sharing benefits.  Give us a call for more information about these plans.

One of the major adopted provisions of Obamacare is expanded Medicaid.  In Washington State, a person or family that qualifies can enroll into Washington Apple Health (state’s Medicaid program) anytime throughout the year. 

Group plans can still be shopped anytime throughout the year.  Some carriers do have a uniform renewal period which does not affect a group’s ability to enroll into the plan – just when their open enrollment period will be.   Small groups can be put together with as few as two employees.

As an independent broker, our office can present you will all of your health insurance options for individuals and small business owners, inside and outside of open enrollment.

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