So now that Open Enrollment for 2016 has come to a close, and you still need to have health insurance, there are probably a dozen different questions running though your mind. You’re asking yourself, “what are my options?” “Do I even have any options?” “Isn’t there some way around this deadline?” “Why do we even have this deadline?”
Which reminds me of that part in The Emperor’s New Groove where Yzma emphatically asked Kronk “Why do we even have that lever?”
Are you glad you took a moment to relive that perfect scene from one of the most hillarious Disney Movies of all time? I know I am.
Anyways, back to the subject…whether or not you like it, at this point in time there is nothing we can do about the deadline. However, if you have what the Health Insurance world calls a “Qualifying Event” then you will still have an opportunity to enroll in Health Insurance this year. Once you have a Qualifying Event, it will trigger a Special Enrollment Period–or in other words a 60 day period where you will be able to enroll in health insurance outside of the typical open enrollment window.
For more information on this subject, check out another one of our handy dandy blog posts right here:
So there may be options for you, supposing you qualify for a qualifying event. In fact, even if you did enroll in health insurance during Open Enrollment 2016, you still may qualify to change or review your plan this year. The simple explanation is this, if you have a qualifying event, you can change your coverage within 60 days of the event. Or do a happy dance while chanting over and over “I have a Special Enrollment Period! I have a Special Enrollment Period!!” I dare you to do that in a public place and see how many funny looks you get. Ok, now back to the subject:
Her is a list of qualifying events that may apply to you and cause a SEP:
So if you need health insurance and you do meet the criteria of having a qualifying event, what comes next?
Basically, what happens next is you have a Special Enrollment Period. Now you can enroll in health insurance even though it’s not Open Enrollment for up to 60 days after the actual event that triggered your SEP. Not 60 days after you figure out that you probably need health insurance again–unless that is the day of the event.
Can you tell we are excited about this? If you have a qualifying event, then you should be too. As part of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) you are now able to pick a plan within 60 days of your qualifying event just as if you were enrolling during Open Enrollment. So what you need to do is figure out if you would qualify for a Subsidy or Tax credit off of your insurance premium price based upon your income.
There are some basic ways to figure out if you qualify. One of our favorites is to use the Kaiser Health Insurance Subsidy Calculator. We can also help you if you would rather just call and ask us. We do this for people all the time. If you do qualify for a Subsidy, your best bet is probably going to be to go to Healthcare.gov (which is the government’s sight for all things health insurance) and fill out an application (or update an existing application if you have already applied). Again, at our office, we love to help clients get through this process. So please call us and we can help you enroll and pick the right plan for you.
If you do not qualify for a Subsidy, then you probably want to go directly to a health insurance carrier (i.e. Select Health, Humana, Cigna etc.) You may want to use a health insurance agent (like us!!!) to run some quotes for you/your family. Health Insurance can be very complicated, which is why we suggest using a good agent.
Then you get to enroll in health insurance and reap those benefits—like being able to go to the doctor, and not get fines for not having health insurance.
So in summary:
For more information: https://www.healthinsurance.org/obamacare/qualifying-events-that-can-get-you-coverage/
This blog was written by Sierra and Marissa
At our agency, we take your privacy seriously. Unlike big insurance agencies that sell your information to high-pressure agents, we only use it to connect with you personally. This way, we can ensure that you get a plan that's tailored specially for you.