Who can enroll in health coverage after December 15th
We hope you were able to get covered for 2019. At HealthSherpa, it’s our mission to help every American feel the comfort and security of having health coverage. We’re proud to say, we were able to help nearly 500,000 people enroll in health insurance this OEP.
As you probably know the Open Enrollment Period—the period when you can buy or change your Marketplace health insurance plan—has passed in most states but there are still a few ways to get health insurance after December 15th if you qualify.
In seven states, the Open Enrollment Period has been extended. This means if you live in one of the following states there is still time to enroll in 2019 health coverage.
States with extended Open Enrollment Periods:
If you are a resident of California, you have from October 15, 2018 to January 15, 2019 to enroll in health coverage for 2019. Although, if you want your coverage to start by Jan. 1, you’ll need to be enrolled by Dec. 21. After Dec. 21, you have until Jan. 15 for coverage beginning on Feb. 1. You can shop for a plan at HealthSherpa.com to compare the plans available to you.
In Colorado, Dec. 15 was the deadline to apply for coverage beginning Jan. 1, but it’s not too late to get enrolled. For anyone living in Colorado, you have until Jan. 15, to enroll in coverage starting Feb. 1. Connect for Health Colorado is a state-based health insurance marketplace, so you can shop and compare plans with them directly.
Massachusetts has been at the forefront of healthcare access to its residents. Since 2007, long before the Affordable Care Act was a reality, Massachusetts enacted an “individual mandate, which requires all adults in the Commonwealth have coverage that meets the state’s standard if it is affordable to them, and it promotes a minimum coverage standard to protect consumers.” This mandate will continue even though the federal government is going to stop charging a tax penalty for not having insurance in 2019.
If you’re not one of the 97% of residents that currently has coverage, good news, you have until January 23, 2019 to get coverage. If you need health and dental insurance that starts Jan. 1, you must finish your enrollment by Dec. 23. After the 23rd, coverage will begin on Feb. 1. For those who live in Massachusetts, Health Connector is your state’s Marketplace. Visit Massachusetts’ website.
If you live in Minnesota, the deadline for Jan. 1 coverage ended on Dec. 15th. That doesn’t mean, you have to wait until the next Open Enrollment for coverage. The state extended their OEP until Jan. 13, for coverage starting on Feb. 1. MNsure is the state-based health insurance Marketplace for residents of Minnesota, so you can shop and compare plans with them directly, or you can head to HealthSherpa.com to find a plan.
The Open Enrollment for New York residents is from November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019. Like most other states, the deadline to enroll in coverage starting Jan. 1 has passed but you have until Jan. 15 to enroll in coverage beginning Feb. 1. Enrollment in a Qualified Health plan continues through Jan. 31 for plans starting March 1. New York operates its own health exchange NY State of Health, but you could also enroll in a plan through HealthSherpa.com.
Rhode Island’s OEP is from November 1, 2018–December 31, 2018, so you have until the end of 2018 to secure coverage. If you want a plan that starts on Jan. 1, you’ll need to pick and pay for your plan by Dec 23. To enroll, head to HealthSourceRI.com before the Dec. 31st deadline.
In Washington D.C., residents have until January 31, 2019 to enroll in coverage. The Open Enrollment Period for Jan. 1 coverage ended on Dec. 15, like most other states, but you can get coverage that starts on Feb. 1 until Jan. 15. If you still need more time, be sure to enroll by Jan. 31 for coverage beginning March 1. DC Health Link is a state-based health insurance Marketplace, so you can shop and compare plans with them directly.
What if I miss my state’s Open Enrollment Period?
If you miss the deadline in your state, there are a few other ways to get health insurance. You may still be able to enroll in a plan after the deadline if you have a qualifying life event (QLE). If you experience a major life event like losing your health insurance, getting married, having or adopting a child, it makes you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Qualifying life events fall under the following six main categories:
- Loss of qualifying health coverage
- Change in primary residence
- Change in household size
- Enrollment or plan error
- Change in eligibility for Marketplace coverage or for help paying for coverage
- Other situations or exceptional circumstances
In most cases, an SEP will last 60 days after you become eligible. If you’ve experienced any of the above events, and think you may have a qualifying life event, give our team a call at (855) 974-5045 and one of Consumer Advocates can answer any questions and help you get enrolled.
What if I still need healthcare?
If your state hasn’t extended the deadline to enroll and you don’t have a qualifying life event, there are a few other ways you can possibly get help.
In the US, one of the biggest programs for healthcare is Medicaid. Medicaid is the government-funded health insurance program that provides free or low-cost health coverage for eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities. To find out if you qualify for this program, you’ll need to fill out an application. If you qualify for Medicaid, you can enroll anytime throughout the year.
For those families whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) works closely with Medicaid. It provides low-cost health insurance for children. Like Medicaid, the program differs per state, and in some states, CHIP also provides coverage for pregnant women.
For individuals 65 and older, Medicare is available. It is also available to younger individuals with specific disabilities such as Lou Gehrig’s disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS). Learn more about Medicare eligibility and costs here.
We understand that health coverage could be expensive, so if you are still in need of quality care and you don’t qualify for a government program, we put together this helpful resource for some additional affordable healthcare options.