I am between jobs, what are my health insurance options?
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) many questions arise regarding when someone can enroll in new individual health insurance coverage. Each year there is an annual open enrollment period (OEP) in which anyone can choose to enroll. The upcoming annual OEP will span November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.
But, what if you need health insurance outside of that enrollment period? One of the most often asked questions about the ACA involves accessing health insurance coverage when between jobs. What should you do if you are ending employer health insurance coverage? Well, you will have a few options.
The first option is COBRA coverage. Your employer will give you information about your COBRA options, including the cost. In many instances you may be able to get a better rate through the individual market. Because you have a loss of employer coverage, you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP). This means you will have 60 days from the last day of your employer coverage to enroll in an individual health insurance plan. Your final option is a short-term medical plan. This is generally less expensive coverage. However, the coverage is limited, you have to answer a few health questions to qualify, and it does not meet minimum essential coverage. If you are without minimum essential coverage for more than three consecutive months you may end up paying a penalty.
To review these options and determine which one is best for you, contact your local insurance agent. It does not cost anything to work with an agent. He or she can advise you which option provides you the coverage that you need at a price you can afford.