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Health Insurance Options, Now That the Federal Enrollment Period is Over

Posted by Rebecca Blake on December 19, 2017

If you had wanted to sign up for health insurance but missed the enrollment period for the federal exchange, you may still have options to get coverage at HealthCare.gov. If you’ve experienced a qualifying life event or any number of specific conditions, you may qualify for a special enrollment period. But your first step should be to double check that your state doesn’t have a state health exchange with an enrollment period extended beyond the federal exchange.

Residents of many states no longer have access to an open enrollment; either their state never set up a health insurance exchange, requiring their residents to purchase insurance on the federal exchange, or their enrollment period has ended. Note that while the states listed below have extended enrollment periods, coverage may not begin until after February 1st. Check your state’s website for details on the coverage period, and to enroll:

•  California: January 31 https://www.coveredca.com
•  Colorado: January 12 http://connectforhealthco.com
•  District of Columbia: January 31 https://dchealthlink.com
•  Massachusetts: January 23 https://www.mahealthconnector.org
•  Minnesota: January 15 https://www.mnsure.org
•  New York: January 31 https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov
•  Rhode Island: December 31 https://healthsourceri.com
•  Washington: January 15 https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org
 
Residents of the remaining 42 states may be eligible to sign up for coverage under a Special Enrollment Period if they’ve experienced any of a number of life changes:

•  Gotten married
•  Had a baby, adopted, or placed a child in foster care
•  Lost insurance through divorce or legal separation
•  Lost insurance through death of a family member
•  Moved to a new zip code, county, or state, or moved to the US
•  Moved to attend school or to follow seasonal work, or from a shelter
•  Lost a job which provided health insurance
•  Lost health coverage from a plan purchased independently
•  Became ineligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
•  Turned 26 and became ineligible to be covered on a parent’s health plan

There are additional “complex issues” which can be taken into consideration when evaluating whether you are eligible for coverage under a Special Enrollment Period. These include: unexpected hospitalizations or temporary disability, technical errors at the HealthCare.gov website that prevented enrollment from going through properly, receiving incorrect information on HealthCare.gov when you selected your plan, and experiencing spousal abuse or abandonment. If you apply for consideration in a Special Enrollment Period and are denied, you can appeal the decision.

The Guild conducted a free webinar on the ACA and its options in mid-November. However, it’s been a rocky Fall for those wanting to sign up for health insurance. The repeated efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, let alone provisions in the proposed tax legislation, have made predicting insurance options and rates for 2018 extremely difficult. Our own free webinar on signing up for the ACA had to be revised the day before the webinar, and even then was outstripped by political developments in the previous 24 hours.

Below: Although the enrollment period at HealthCare.gov is over, you may still qualify for coverage.

Healthcare.gov screenshot

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