In my town of Romeoville, Illinois or any other town in America, now that Open Enrollment under the Affordable Care Act has concluded, the only way to purchase Health Insurance is through a Special Election Period. Similar to an SEP in the Medicare Advantage world, there are several things that qualify you for this enrollment. Without a qualifying event, you cannot purchase insurance.
Here are a list of things that qualify for an SEP…
1) Renewal of a grandfather or non-grandfathered individual major medical plan in 2014. HOWEVER, so far I am hearing only Assurant is honoring this type of SEP. The other carriers I have asked have said no.
2) Return from active military duty
3) Release from Prison
4) Gain of immigration or citizenship status
5) Permanent move to a different state
Loss of Minimum Essential coverage due to:
1) Plan discontinued that did not meet Health Care Reform requirements
2) Legal Separation or divorce
3) Termination of domestic partnership or Civil Union ( in states where this applies)
4) Change in full-time employment status
5) Involuntary loss of employer sponsored health insurance
6) Death of a parent or Spouse
7) Change in dependent status as a result of turning 26
Gaining or becoming a dependent due to:
2) Domestic Partnership
3) Birth / adoption of Children
4) Placement for adoption of children
5) Guardian/court ordered dependent
You have 60 days from the date of the qualifying event.
In the event that the qualifying event is a renewal from a grandfathered or non-grandfathered plan, the renewal date will serve as the qualifying date.
Now your other options, if you do not have a qualifying event are a short term plan. These were originally designed for when you were between jobs. You could get one of these for up to six months. Well now, depending on the company and the State you live in it could be for up to a year. Some allow you to renew it for up to 18 months, some up to 3 years.
The other option is a "Limited Benefit" Plan. They are called Limited as there are "Limits" to how much the plan will pay for each service. The downside to these plans is that the service you need might cost more that what the policy pays. Or to be said better, exceeds the limit.
Thanks for reading!