You saw the reminders. Maybe it was in your email. Maybe it popped up in your social feed. It might even have been a phone call or text. Yep. It’s that time of year again! Health insurance open enrollment!
Your intentions were good. You really were planning to sign up for health insurance this year. You might have even begun filling in an application. But you got distracted and forgot. Or maybe you hesitated because the premium seemed a little more than you wanted to pay. You went back to finish the application…oops! The deadline had passed for open enrollment. Now what?
As you know, open enrollment is the limited period of time in which you can enroll in, opt out of, or make changes to your health insurance. Employers with more than 50 employees that offer health insurance must have an annual open enrollment period. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace exchange and off-exchange major medical insurers also have a yearly open enrollment.
If you miss open enrollment (which is usually 30 days but could be as long as 3 months), you will be unable to enroll in ACA-compliant health insurance until the next open enrollment period, unless you have a qualifying event, which could be getting married, having a baby, or changing jobs. This generally applies whether you’re getting insurance through your employer (or your spouse’s employer) or through the marketplace.
However, if you need health insurance, you still have options even though you missed open enrollment. People who qualify for Medicaid or CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Plan) can enroll at any time.
Additional options include short-term health insurance and supplemental insurance, such as limited indemnity medical, critical illness, or accident insurance, which allow year-round enrollment and often provide coverage almost immediately.
SGIC’s Short Term Medical Insurance is most similar to major medical insurance offered by employers or Obamacare. Coverage can include doctor’s office visits, urgent care and emergency rooms, in- and out-patient surgery, wellness care, and a number of other key medical benefits. Because these plans have a range of deductibles, coinsurance levels, copayments, and terms, you can customize a plan that fits both your personal health requirements and your budget.
Limited Indemnity Medical Insurance from SGIC also includes doctor’s office visits, surgical services, wellness care, hospital stays, ambulance transport, and emergency room visits. Limited Indemnity Medical Insurance pays a fixed benefit amount directly to you, and the plan’s flexibility allows you to choose your own doctors and hospitals.
Other affordable options include critical illness and accident insurance. Each of these offers very specific types of coverage. For example, critical illness insurance generally covers common critical illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, and stroke. Accident insurance usually pays an accidental death benefit and may also include accident-related medical expenses.
The only thing to keep in mind about short-term and supplemental insurance is that they are not ACA-compliant, are not required to cover the 10 essential health benefits, may exclude pre-existing conditions, and may require answers to health questions (underwriting).
However, at SGIC we believe that some health insurance coverage is always better than no coverage. We are in the business of providing peace of mind through innovative insurance products and services designed specifically to fit your lifestyle and protect what matters most.
Need help finding health insurance? Call us at (888) 912-4767 to discuss your coverage options outside of open enrollment.