As we wrap up a tough year, those who are in the individual health insurance market and buy insurance themselves instead of through an employer, end the year participating in Open Enrollment to make their health coverage selections for the following year. If you followed the open enrollment guidelines and already enrolled in your 2021 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 2021. The answer is—yes, there may be an option for you.
Some State-run Exchanges with Extended Enrollment Dates
Open Enrollment ended on December 15 in most states. However, those who live in state-run marketplaces still have time to get the coverage they need for 2021. State-run exchanges operate separately from the federal marketplace and can choose their coverage selection window. If you still need coverage and live in one of the states below, check the dates and be sure to enroll before the deadline.
- California: November 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021
- Colorado: November 1, 2020 – January 15, 2021
- Massachusetts: November 1, 2020 – January 23, 2021
- Minnesota: November 1, 2020 – December 22, 2020
- Nevada: November 1, 2020 – January 15, 2021
- New Jersey: November 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021
- New York: November 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021
- Pennsylvania: November 1, 2020 – January 15, 2021
- Rhode Island: November 1, 2020 – January 23, 2021
- Washington: November 1, 2020 – January 15, 2021
- Washington, D.C.: November 1, 2020 – January 31, 2021
Alternatives to ACA coverage are accessible year-round
If you don’t live in one of the state-based exchanges or haven’t enrolled in coverage yet, an option outside of Open Enrollment is to select an ACA-alternative plan (a non-ACA compliant plan). 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.
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
- 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.
Consider speaking to a health insurance agent to help you make a confident decision.
Insurance Agents are experts on insurance and use their knowledge to find plans that serve your best interest, acting as a personal advisor on insurance matters. We’ve compiled a few reasons why working with an agent can be a smooth, knowledgeable and helpful experience as you determine which health plan to go with for the 2021 coverage year.
Speak to a licensed agent to:
- Get information on products in your area
- See what health insurance fits your budget
- Learn what coverage could best fit your needs
- Ask questions
- Get an understanding of your insurance options
- Enroll in coverage with the assistance of a licensed expert
As we look back at the year we’ve had, let us be thankful for our health and safety of our loved ones. If you haven’t crossed health coverage off of your to-do list, now is the time! Some states are still open for ACA enrollments and others have ACA-alternatives that may help you stay fincancially stable if you were to have medical needs. Our licensed agents are able to answer any questions and assist you in your health insurance enrollment. Call 866-998-7493 to speak to a VelaPoint licensed agent to answer any questions you may have and explore your coverage options.
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.