March 31 has come and gone. And with it has come the end of open enrollment for 2014 health insurance plans.
Unless you had already begun an application on or before that date through healthcare.gov (the federal health insurance exchange used by Virginia residents), March 31 was the last day you could purchase non-group health insurance coverage during 2014 open enrollment.
However, there may still be an opportunity to purchase 2014 coverage during what is known as a special enrollment period.
Special Enrollment Period Triggered by a Qualifying Event
A special enrollment period is a window of time during which you can enroll in a health insurance plan outside the dates of open enrollment. A special enrollment period is triggered by certain qualifying events.
In most cases, the period lasts 60 days from the date of the qualifying event. However, in the case of the loss of a pre-Affordable Care Act policy due to non-renewal by the carrier, the special enrollment period lasts for 30 days.
Examples of Qualifying Events
- Change in marital status (marriage/divorce/death of a spouse)
- Relocation to a new state
- Change in family size (birth/adoption/death of a child)
- Loss of minimum essential health coverage (change in employment status, cancellation of current coverage)
- Certain changes in income
- Expiration of COBRA
If You Have a Qualifying Event
If you do have a qualifying event, you must have proof of the event. When applying for coverage, you will need to submit verification of the event and the date it occurred. Without verification, most carriers will not process the application.
If you have a qualifying event and you are eligible for a subsidy (click here to find out), then you will need to purchase coverage on your state’s health insurance exchange (healthcare.gov for Virginia residents, marylandhealthconnection.com for Maryland residents, dchealthlink.com for DC residents). Click here for instructions.
If you are not eligible for a subsidy, you can apply directly with the carrier of your choice:
What if You Don’t Have a Qualifying Event?
Absent a qualifying event, most individuals will not be able to purchase Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant health insurance coverage for 2014 after March 31. Instead, you will need to wait until next year’s open enrollment — Nov 15, 2014 to Feb 15, 2015 — to buy coverage effective in 2015.
If you are concerned about being uninsured for the remainder of 2014, you may have an option to purchase a temporary policy as a bridge through the end of the year.
Temporary plans offered outside of a special or open enrollment period will not be ACA-compliant. One critical missing piece will be coverage for pre-existing conditions; they will not be covered. But you would be covered for any new illness or injury that arises before 2015. Although not ideal, a temporary plan is better than having no coverage at all.
Here are two companies we work with that offer short term, temporary coverage:
We Can Help
If you have a qualifying event, let us know right away so we can help you find new coverage that will best meet your needs.
Even without a qualifying event, if you do not have health insurance, give us a call. We may be able to help you at least find a temporary policy to give you peace of mind until 2015.
Call us at 1-800-867-0800 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.