The Open Enrollment Period for Obamacare has officially ended. If you missed the deadline to sign up for a health plan, you may have questions, like “what are my options?” and even “do I have any options at all?” Our answer? There’s always an option!

The Solution

If you missed Open Enrollment and don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, short-term health insurance is a great coverage option that may be available to you, even outside of the national Open Enrollment Period for Obamacare health plans. When searching for a short-term plan, you’ll see plans that feature different deductibles, coinsurance, and other variables similar to what you would see when selecting a major medical plan. You’ll have the option to select the level of coverage that you feel is most appropriate for you and your health care needs.

Differences in Plans

It’s important to note that short-term plans function differently than ACA-compliant major medical plans. Major medical plans are renewable each year without the need to reapply. Short-term plans are not renewable and require you to apply again at the end of the policy term, with no guarantee that your application will be accepted. Another difference is that they are medically underwritten, meaning your previous medical history will be evaluated and preexisting conditions will not be covered.1

Short-term plans are not intended to be a permanent solution to a major medical plan, but can provide you with excellent coverage while you wait for the next Open Enrollment Period. Because they are not ACA-compliant plans, you may still be subject to the tax penalty if you have a short-term plan instead of a major medical plan.1 However, you should look at the big picture- a short-term plan will protect you (and your wallet) from huge medical expenses should you have an unexpected medical issue.

The Benefits of Short-term Health Insurance

In addition to the benefit of having coverage in case something unexpected happens, we particularly enjoy the fact that these plans are typically much less expensive than a major medical plan. So again, even though you’re paying the tax penalty, the peace of mind of being covered paired with a pretty low premium make these plans definitely worth it.

For a more comprehensive overview of short-term medical insurance, click here.

Citations

  1. Norris, L. (2016).Miss open enrollment? You’ve got options. Retrieved February 5, 2016 from https://www.healthinsurance.org/obamacare/miss-open-enrollment-youve-got-options/