In the good old days of insurance things were a bit more simplified. If you wanted insurance and you didn’t have any prior complications you were able to apply and get coverage any time throughout the calendar year. With the exception of Medicare which uses the open enrollment system. This means there is a specified time when you can switch plans or get coverage. After that date you are stuck with what you signed up for until the next open enrollment period.
Obamacare adopted a similar system to Medicare. Many of you have been hearing that enrollment ends March 31st. Not only is this the truth, but many fail to understand that if they fail to get coverage before that date not only will they face fines from the government but they will also be unable to get coverage until the enrollment opens next November.
Another issue with open enrollment that you need to be aware of is that if you are delinquent on payments and are “dropped” from coverage, you will be without insurance until the open enrollment and the government will view you as not having insurance for the entire year and you will be fined as such. So, even if you had insurance from Jan 1st through mid September you will be viewed as if you had no insurance for the whole year.
There are a couple ways to bypass open enrollment. They do offer “special enrollment”, and “qualifying life events” just the same as Medicare does. This means that if you lose your job, move, get married, get divorced, or have a baby, you can still get coverage outside of the enrollment period.
As of now current enrollment will end on March 31st 2014. Next year, and from then on, open enrollment will take place from November 15th – Jan 15th. So be prepared if you are opting to not get insurance this year, you will not have the option to sign up until that time period later in the year. If you have any questions please feel free to Ask the Doctor or Contact my good friend and Insurance Guru, Quinn Connolly.