Open enrollment for 2017 finishes January 31 for those who purchase health plans from the private marketplace or health insurance exchanges.
But if you didn’t act by the deadline, are you totally out of luck?
Not necessarily. Should you have a brand new kid in the family, lose your work or experience another qualifying life event, you might be qualified for a specific-registration period during the year.
Another option is a short-term health plan.
These plans come with beefier doctor and hospital networks, have lower premiums than routine ones and often last less than a year.
For some folks — especially those people who are young, healthy and don’t qualify for a tax credit from Covered California or other health insurance exchange — short-term plans might make financial sense, even though they don’t guard you from the Obamacare tax fee.
“Depending on your age and income degree, you could get one of these plans, pay the uninsured tax penalty and still pay less than if you’d purchased” a complete plan, says Kev Coleman, head of research and data for HealthPocket, a health insurance comparison website located in Mountain View.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is for many individuals.
Short-term plans won’t cover your preexisting states and they don’t offer coverage for specific medical services.
“And you don’t want to pay the tax penalty.”
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect, short-term strategies (also called “term health insurance”), were bought mainly by individuals between occupations, by those waiting for their new occupation-based insurance to kick in or by recent college grads.
“They were designed to be transitional coverage, not a permanent sort of insurance product,” Purpura says.
But since the law’s major provisions took effect in 2014, other and eHealth insurance retailers report that sales of short term strategies are picking up. Affordability is the largest selling point, they say.
Even for coverage, you still may owe hundreds with a subsidy.
There are several million people nationally who don’t get subsidies. That’s essentially the growth engine for the duration medical insurance marketplace,” Coleman says.
The tax penalty hasn’t dissuaded some people from signing up for short-term plans, notably the youthful and healthy: 18- to 34-year olds accounted for over half the buyers of short term strategies last year at both eHealth and AgileHealthInsurance.com, another Mountain view-based company, which sells just short term medical insurance plans.
The biggest demographic is millennials,” says Agile’s executive director, Sam Gibbs. In other words, the same youthful and healthy individuals considered vital to the stability and success of the ACA’s health insurance exchanges.
George Goldman, a 22-year-old Century City resident, lost his routine medical insurance plan because he was paying $300 a month for coverage he didn’t think he needed.
It turned out to be a financial choice,” he says. “ if I’m fined, I don’t care.”
Later without coverage, nevertheless, Goldman became nervous in the year and purchased a short-term plan from eHealth for the final months of 2015. It cost a little over $200 a month, and insured a visit to the emergency room.
Because he thought he was taking on too much risk he registered in a health plan that was standard again. “ It’s still a fiscal weight, but when you will need it, you require it,” he says.
Before you attempt a short-term plan, consider the advantages and cons:
– You can buy them any time of year.
– Their premiums are typically lower than leading medical insurance plans. The typical premium for short term plans sold by eHealth in California last year was $177 per month, Purpura says.
Than some plans accessible from exchanges They may have more comprehensive networks of hospitals and physicians.
They won’t tolerate you should you have preexisting circumstances, or if they do, they won’t cover them.
– They may well not cover benefits like prescription drugs, preventative services or maternity care.
– They continue less than a year and you’ve got to reapply at the end of every period. There’s no promise you’ll be accepted again, particularly if you got severely ill while you had coverage.
“Term health insurance isn’t good for someone who has chronic health conditions or who takes expensive drugs,” Coleman says.
If you believe it is going to be more affordable to get a short-term plan and pay the ACA tax, ensure you’re using the equation that is correct.
“Whichever is greater” means you might owe thousands of dollars.
In general, wellness consumer advocates warn against short term strategies and urge you to see should you are eligible for a special-enrollment period to get a full-fledged plan. Although the federal government says it is going to tighten the rules governing special-registration periods, many of you will qualify in case you have valid qualifying life events.
If you’ve got an alternative to get regular health insurance, certainly attempt that first, ” encourages Cheryl Fish-Parcham, private insurance program director for Families USA.
Finally, in the event that you do have short-term insurance and aren’t content with the amount of service or care, contact the strategy first. If you’re still having trouble, reach out to the Alternative Health Help Line (877-962-8332).