Open enrollment for the year 2016 ends Sunday for those who purchase health policies from the private market or health insurance exchanges.
But if you do not act by the target time, are you completely out of luck?
Not essentially. If you lose your job, have a new child in the family or experience another qualifying life event, you may be qualifies for a special-enrollment time during the year.
Another choice is a short-term health policy.
These policies last less than a year, have lower premiums in contrast to regular ones and often come with beefier doctor and hospital networks.
For few people – particularly those who are young, healthy and do not qualify for a tax credit from Covered California or other health insurance exchange — short-term policies might make financial sense, even though they do not shield you from the Obamacare tax penalty.
“Relying on your age and income level, you could get one of these policies, pay the uninsured tax penalty and still pay less than if you had bought” a comprehensive plan, claims Kev Coleman, head of research and data for HealthPocket, a health insurance comparison website based in Mountain View.
If this sounds too good to be real, it probably is for most persons.
Short-term policies will not cover your pre-existing conditions and they do not offer coverage for certain medical services.
“If you get cancer or something actually serious, you are going to want really robust health insurance,” states Nate Purpura, vice president of consumer affairs for eHealth.com, a private online health insurance marketplace also based in Mountain View. “And you do not need to pay the tax penalty.” If you are thinking about getting this type of health insurance for yourself though then it want to check out something like this health insurance jacksonville fl to give you a better idea of what you can get.
Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took effect, short-term policies (also called “term health insurance”), were bought primarily by persons between jobs, by those waiting for their new job-based insurance to kick in or by recent college graduates.
“They were constituted to be transitional coverage, not a permanent sort of insurance product,” Purpura states.
But since the law’s huge provisions took effect in the year 2014, eHealth and other insurance retailers report that sales of short-term policies are picking up. Affordability is the greatest selling point, they claim.
If your income does not qualify you for a tax credit to help pay for insurance from Covered California (or another health insurance exchange), premiums can be costly. Even with a subsidy, you still may owe hundreds per month for coverage.
“There are several million persons nationally who do not get subsidies. That is basically the growth engine for the term health insurance market,” Coleman states.
The tax penalty has not deterred few persons from signing up for short-term policies, particularly the young and healthy: 18- to 34-year-olds accounted for more than half the buyers of short-term policies last year at both eHealth and AgileHealthInsurance.com, another Mountain view-based company, which sells merely short-term health insurance policies.
“The greatest demographic is millennials,” states Sam Gibbs, Agile’s executive director. That is, the same young and healthy people considered significant to the stability and victory of the ACA’s health insurance exchanges.
Sometimes large companies give benefit packages that include some type of health insurance. The insurance brokers that these companies use things like employee benefits enrollment software to make sure costs are kept in check. These packages are often used to attract and retain employees.
George Goldman, a 22-year-old Century City resident, dropped his regular health insurance policy early previous year because he was paying $300 a month for coverage he did not think he required.
“It was an economical decision,” he states. “I do not care if I am fined.”
Later in the year, although, Goldman became nervous without coverage and bought a short-term policy from eHealth for the final months of the year 2015. It cost a little over $200 a month, and covered a visit to the emergency room.
This year, he enrolled in a regular health policy again because he thought he was taking on too much risk. “It is still a financial burden, but when you require it, you need it,” he states.
Before you try a short-term policy, consider the pros and cons:
You can purchase them any time of year. Their premiums are normally lower than major medical insurance policies. The average premium for short-term policies sold by eHealth in California last year was $177 each month, Purpura states. They may have broader networks of doctors and hospitals than few policies available from exchanges.
They will not accept you if you have pre-existing conditions, or if they do, they will not cover them. They may not cover profits like maternity care, preventive services or prescription drugs. Few may offer drug or dental discount plans, but those are not the same as insurance. They last less than a year and you have to reapply at the end of each term. There is no guarantee you will be accepted again, specifically if you got seriously ill while you had coverage.
“Term health insurance is not good for someone who has chronic health conditions or who takes costly medications,” Coleman states.
If you think it will be cheaper to purchase a short-term policy and pay the ACA tax, make certain you are using the correct equation.
For the 2016 tax year, the tax penalty increases to $695 per adult or 2.5% of annual household income, whichever is greater. “Whichever is greater” means you could owe thousands of dollars.
In general, health consumer advocates alert against short-term policies and asserts you to see if you qualify for a special-enrollment period to get a full-fledged policy. Though the federal government claims that it will tighten the principles governing special-enrollment periods, many of you still will qualify if you have legitimate qualifying life events.
“If you have an alternative to receive regular health insurance, surely try that first,” emphasizes Cheryl Fish-Parcham, private insurance program director for Families USA. If you are looking for long term health insurance, you should visit activeage.co to compare prices!
Ultimately, if you do have short-term insurance and are not happy with the level of care or service, contact the policy first. If you are still having any issue or trouble, reach out to the California Department of Insurance (800-927-4357).
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