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- Getting a Special Chance to Buy Health Insurance
Every year, as summer turns to fall, and fall to winter, millions of Americans buy health insurance. During that season, the government gives everyone a chance to buy the plan they need, but by early spring, time’s up!
But here’s some good news, everyone knows the world doesn’t stop turning during the summer months. That’s why some special rules help you out when life gets interesting.
Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) are special chances to buy or make changes to your health insurance plan the rest of the year. Here’s a quick Q&A on how they work.
Interested in signing up or need to learn more? Give us a call at 1-888-382-9771! We’re here to help.
Q: What’s an SEP?
A: After March 31, only people with a qualifying life event can change their individual or family plan or enroll in a new plan. That’s called having an SEP.
Q: What’s a qualifying life event?
A: Events include:
- Getting married
- Having, adopting, or the placement of a child
- Permanently moving to a new area with different health plan options
- Losing other health coverage because
- You lost your job
- You don’t work enough hours to stay on your employer’s plan
- Your employer stops paying for your plan or stops paying as much
- Your plan doesn’t cover the essential health benefits as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- A big increase in how much you pay for your plan
Q: Is a change in my income a qualifying life event?
A: For people who already have a qualified health plan, a change in income or household status can be a qualifying life event. Both of these events might change how much government help you can get to pay for your plan.
Q: Why don’t I always qualify for an SEP if I lose my coverage?
A: Some events don’t count as a qualifying event:
- Losing your plan because you didn’t pay your premiums
- Choosing on your own to quit other health coverage
- Losing coverage that’s not minimum essential coverage, like a short-term plan or (in some cases) a catastrophic plan
Q: What if I don’t have a qualifying life event?
A: You have to wait until the next Open Enrollment Period (OEP), which will begin during the fall. The government sets the start and end dates of OEP, not Health Alliance.
You can enroll in a Short-Term plan at any time. But remember, they don’t meet the requirements of the ACA for being a qualified health plan, which means you’ll have to pay a tax penalty in 2015.
Q: How long do I have to enroll in a plan after a qualifying event?
A: 60 days.
Q: How do I enroll?
A: You get to choose how you’d like to enroll. Find what works best for you, and if you need help along the way, call us at 1-888-382-9771. Or if you’re in the Champaign area, stop by our office at 206 W. Anthony Drive (near Alexander’s Steakhouse) for help!
Q: When will my coverage start?
A: Your start date depends on your qualifying event.
If you have questions about an SEP or about your situation, give us a call at 1-888-382-9771 or stop by our office—we’re more than happy to help you find the answers.