Is it too late to get health insurance for 2017?
We’ve all been there. Sometimes that deadline passes you by in a flash! Luckily, when it comes to health insurance, there are a couple of options for you to still get a plan.
Do you ever have those moments — you’re driving in the car or you’re in the shower and you know there’s something you forgot? But you just can’t put your finger on it? Well, if that something turns out to be buying your health insurance for 2017, you’re in luck. It's not too late to get a plan.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Fill the gap with a plan that gives you short-term coverage
A short term health insurance plan is a great choice if you’re between jobs or need coverage to patch you through until the next open enrollment dates start.
How does it help?
It protects you in case you get sick and need a lot of care, or if you have an accident. It gives you more control over how long you need to be covered, from 30 days all the way up to 12 months. And you can apply anytime — there are no open enrollment dates to worry about.
Keep in mind:
These plans usually just cover the basics. That means you might not be covered for things like a disease or injury you already have (pre-existing conditions), pregnancy care, mental health or preventive visits.
The trade-off is that these plans can be inexpensive. And having basic coverage still gives you peace of mind in case the unexpected happens.
Talk to someone from the health insurance company you are buying from to figure out exactly what the plan benefits are. While short-term plans give you valuable coverage, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) rule, all Americans are required to have health insurance. Usually short-term plans don’t qualify as coverage. If yours doesn’t, you’ll likely have to pay a fee at tax time. So that’s important to know and something the health insurance company will be able to tell you.
2. See if you qualify to enroll outside of annual enrollment
Did you have changes in your life this year? Big or small — if you had certain changes, you might be able to get health insurance through an exception called “Special Enrollment.”
Take a look. If anything on the list below happened to you this year, you can apply just like you would during open enrollment.
Lots of people qualify for this, so look closely to see if one of these sounds like you:
- You got married, divorced or separated
- You moved to another zip code, country or state
- You had a baby, adopted a child or were adopted
- You turned 26
- You lost your job, your Medicaid coverage, your Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage or your insurance was dropped by your employer
- You lost your coverage, by losing a job, divorce, death of dependent or you lost your Medical Assistance (MA)
- You had a court order or child support order
- You became a U.S. citizen
If you think you qualify for Special Enrollment, call the insurance company you’re interested in buying from to see what your options are. You’ll have to have proof that one of these things happened in your life to apply. You can also contact MNSure to see if you qualify for Special Enrollment through the Minnesota health insurance marketplace.
With MNSure, you might be able to get help with your health insurance premium (called a subsidy). If you are eligible to get help, you’ll need to buy your plan through MnSure. Call MNSure or the health insurance company you’re interested in to find out if you qualify for help.
Get peace of mind
When you’re covered, you can rest easy, knowing you’ve got what you need to protect yourself and your family. Missing open enrollment might make things a little inconvenient for one year — but you can get coverage to get you through. Plus, next year’s open enrollment will be here before you know it. All you have to do is keep those dates in mind for next year and you’ll be right back on track.
Related content: Open Enrollment dates you need to know
Sara Wagner is a Manager of Medicare & Individual Sales at HealthPartners. She’s been with the team for 15 years with close to 30 years of sales, service, and management experience all within the health insurance industry. We’re grateful to have her extensive expertise on the HealthPartners Health Insurance Help blog.In her free time, Sara enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family.