Starting off the new year right

Happy New Year

As we say hello to a new year and reflect on the past year, how do your health needs fit into your goals and resolutions? Many individuals often make health a priority and with that comes securing a health insurance plan that encompasses all of your needs while fitting your budget. Have you secured 2019 health coverage?

The federal Open Enrollment Period for 2019 Affordable Care Act (ACA) 1 health insurance coverage came to a close in most states on December 15th, 2018. If you followed the open enrollment guidelines and already enrolled in your 2019 health insurance, you should be set for the year as long as you keep up with your premium payments. If you missed open enrollment, you may be wondering if you can still enroll in coverage for 2019. The answer is—yes, there may be an option for you.

You still have time to enroll in ACA coverage in certain states.

Some states have extended their open enrollment period. In the following states, you are still able to enroll in ACA-compliant coverage until their deadline:

  • California: January 15th deadline with a February 1st plan start date.
  • Colorado: January 15th deadline with a February 1st plan start date.
  • Washington D. C.: January 31st deadline with a March 1st plan start date.
  • Massachusetts: January 31st deadline with a March 1st plan start date.
  • Minnesota: January 13th deadline with a February 1st plan start date.
  • New York: January 31st deadline with a March 1st plan start date.

You may also qualify for a Special Enrollment Period

Special Enrollment Periods are brought on by qualifying life events— or major life changes that necessitate “off schedule” insurance changes. These specific, qualifying life changes may open a small window of time that will allow you to purchase new ACA health insurance coverage. The most common kinds of qualifying life events are:

  • Losing  employer-sponsored coverage
  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  •  Adding a child to your family
  •  Aging off of  a parent’s plan
  • Moving to a new state or service area

There are a variety of ways to qualify for special enrollment periods—many more than just those listed above. Consult a licensed agent for more information.

Alternatives to ACA coverage are accessible year-round

Another option outside of Open Enrollment is to select a non-ACA compliant plan (an ACA alternative). ACA alternatives can be enrolled in at any time throughout the year and can typically be more affordable than traditional ACA plans, but with more restricted and limited coverage. If you are in good health and only looking for coverage on unexpected medical care, short-term medical (STM)2 insurance may be a good option for you to explore.

Short-term medical insurance is health coverage designed to cover healthy individuals for a pre-determined length of time. These periods can range from a few months up to a year, depending on your state. These plans are flexible and customizable – you can choose from various premium, deductible and health benefit levels. STM plans can also be used alongside other supplemental insurance options such as accident or critical illness insurance for even more coverage.

As we welcome 2019 with goals and resolutions for the new year, remember to make your health a priority. Having a health coverage plan in place that fits your lifestyle and health needs is a great way to begin the year with reassurance if any medical needs were to come up. Our licensed agents are able to answer any questions and assist you in your health insurance enrollment. Call 855-548-0727 or visit VelaPoint Marketplace for more information.

1ACA = Short for the “Affordable Care Act.” ACA health insurance plans that meet the minimum essential coverage requirements and cover pre-existing conditions as well as the 10 essential health benefits (e.g. maternity care, mental health, preventative care, prescription drugs, and more). ACA plans also offer subsidies and premium tax credits to eligible individuals based on income. These subsidies and credits are designed to lower your ACA plan’s monthly premium. Individuals may only enroll in ACA coverage during the annual Open Enrollment Period (November 1st – December 15th) unless they have a Qualifying Life Event. Visit Healthcare.gov for more information.
2Short Term Medical (STM) and other ACA-alternative plans are medically underwritten and are not required to meet the minimum essential coverage requirements or provide the 10 essential health benefits as mandated by the ACA. This means that non-ACA plans may not cover certain types of services, including but not limited to: maternity care, mental health, preventative care, and prescription drugs. Non-ACA plans are also not required to cover pre-existing conditions. STM plans vary per state.