There has been great debate over the past few days, regarding what happens if you fail to buy health insurance by the stated March 31 cutoff date. For many, it was a matter of not being able to get through to the healthcare.gov website, being stuck in a virtual waiting room, or not finding the answers they needed from so-called experts at pseudo-agencies and businesses who were offering to help with sign-up.
For others, the deadline was missed as a result of simply waiting too long or trying to log on at the last minute. Either way, the thing to remember is that there are solutions for those who couldn't purchase a new plan or apply for a subsidy in time.
Qualifications for Health Insurance Special Enrollment
Now that the deadline is behind us, the focus has shifted to special enrollment qualifications. In short, special healthcare enrollment allows some people to purchase a plan or apply for government subsidies after the established open-enrollment deadline. This covers a wide scope of conditions and life situations, and we're going to review a few of the most pertinent.
Change in Marital Status
If you end up getting married or divorced after the open enrollment period closes, you will be allowed to buy health insurance. Considering that so many marriages take place during the summer and fall months, this is sure to have an impact on the number of new policies activated in 2014.
Change of Income Status
If you lose your job, or experience a significant change in income, you may be eligible to get medical coverage through the exchange. Of course, this will be dependent on several factors including the nature of leaving your company, secondary income sources and others. A licensed agent can help you determine the best course of action for getting insured after a change in job status.
Birth of a New Child
Welcoming a new member of the family into the world, be it through adoption of natural birth, will allow you to make changes to your existing healthcare plan, or purchase a new policy to better address your family's evolving needs.
Moving to a New Location
When you move, you're likely entering a new physician's network, and this makes you eligible for special enrollment. We can't stress enough the importance of contacting an agent to help you with this. From our own research and experience, many of the non-agency customer service reps who robotically sell plans off a script, are nowhere near as knowledgeable as licensed agents are on things like PPO, HMO, and physician network guidelines.
Immigration Status Change
Should you become an American citizen after the open enrollment period ends, you will be able to shop for health insurance or apply for subsides under special enrollment. Again, it's crucial that you work with someone who has done this before and knows exactly what documentation and processes are needed to avoid delays, non-coverage and other challenges.