Applying for private healthcare differs from starting a new job and waiting for employer-provided coverage. Usually, when you are newly employed, the healthcare insurance and supplemental benefits will kick in within no more than three months. However, when applying for private healthcare insurance outside of an employer, there are a few things to note—for example, the open enrollment period ended on January 15th, 2023. Therefore, if you are uninsured and need medicine or to see a doctor, this can leave you in a bind. Here are some things you can do if you’ve missed the open enrollment period.
What are My Options if I’ve Missed the Open Enrollment Period?
Your options might include a special enrollment period (SEP), Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), short-term health insurance, and supplemental insurance. You qualify for a SEP if it hasn’t been any longer than 60 days from a qualifying event life event, which includes the following:
- Loss of employer-provided, individually-funded, and student health plans
- Loss of eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP
- Turning 26 and no longer being eligible to be on a parent’s healthcare plan
- Getting married or divorced
- Having a baby or adopting a child
- A death in the family
- Moving to a different zip code
- A student moving to or from the area they attend school
- A seasonal worker moving to and from the place they live and work
- Becoming a U.S. citizen
There are also special enrollment exceptional circumstances for when people are in unusual or complicated cases that might have prevented registration in a healthcare plan, such as the following:
- Sudden hospitalization or temporary cognitive disability
- Natural disasters
- Domestic abuse or spousal abandonment
- Human or technical errors during enrollment that weren’t your fault
What if I Don’t Qualify for a SEP?
Suppose you lost your job and picked up part-time work but aren’t eligible for insurance because you’re a part-time employee. Also, let’s assume it’s been three months since you lost your job, but you still want health coverage. You wouldn’t be eligible for a SEP for over 60 days. So, what do you do?
Depending on your medical needs, you could apply for supplemental insurance, such as a hospital or critical illness insurance. Also, whether or not you qualify for a SEP, you can enroll in Medicaid or CHIP any time of the year.
What to Know About Medicaid and CHIP
In all states, Medicaid provides coverage for low-income people, families, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. In addition, CHIP provides low-cost healthcare to children in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid. In Maryland, income is the only requirement for Medicaid, and it covers the following:
- Doctor visits
- Pregnancy care
- Prescription drugs
- Hospital and emergency services
You can visit the Health Insurance Marketplace or your state’s Medicaid Agency to see if you qualify. Maryland Health Connection also has information on how you can enroll in Medicaid. Short-term health insurance is also a consideration if you’re waiting for Medicaid to approve your application, need medicine during the new employment gap, or missed open enrollment. However, these policies tend to be limited. Therefore, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons.
Missing open enrollment can feel like the end of the world. However, you have options. We hope that you found this information to be helpful and reassuring. Contact Malden Solutions today if you’re looking for supplemental benefits.
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Malden Solutions has a wealth of expertise in providing employer insurance solutions, HR solutions, and individual insurance solutions to businesses both big and small. Our team of seasoned professionals can help you navigate the rapidly-changing world of insurance with ease. We partner with businesses and individuals throughout the country to provide our dedicated services for employee benefits but also work within our surrounding communities in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide effective, dynamic solutions for your business. Stay connected with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.