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  • Writer's pictureFrank Dappah

Navigating the Post-ACA Open Enrollment Waters: Your Comprehensive Guide.

Missed the ACA Deadline? No Worries, We've Got Your Back!.

Did you miss the Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period this year? You're not alone. Each year, millions of Americans find themselves in the same predicament.

According to a 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation survey, nearly 28 million nonelderly people in the United States were uninsured. But don't worry - even if you missed the deadline, there are still options available for you to secure health coverage.

Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs)

If you've experienced a qualifying life event (QLE), you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). QLEs include getting married, having a baby, losing job-based coverage, or moving to a new location. You typically have 60 days from the date of the QLE to enroll in a new plan. In 2021, over 2.5 million Americans took advantage of SEPs to secure health insurance.

Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

Medicaid and CHIP are government-funded programs that provide health coverage to low-income individuals and families. Eligibility varies by state, but in general, you can apply for these programs at any time throughout the year. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as of August 2021, over 72 million people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, proving the essential nature of these programs.

Short-Term Health Insurance

Short-term health insurance plans provide temporary coverage for a limited period, usually between 30 days and 364 days. While they don't offer the same level of benefits as ACA-compliant plans, they can be a stopgap solution until the next open enrollment period. However, keep in mind that short-term plans may not cover pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits. A 2019 eHealth report found that the average premium for short-term plans was $110 per month for individuals, making them an affordable option for some.

Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

If you have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, it's worth considering this option. Employers often cover a portion of the premium, making it more affordable than purchasing an individual plan. In 2021, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported that 56% of the U.S. population received health coverage through their employer.

Catastrophic Health Insurance

Catastrophic health insurance is designed for individuals under 30 or those who qualify for a hardship exemption. These plans have low monthly premiums but high deductibles, making them ideal for those who only need coverage for worst-case scenarios. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in the first half of 2021, 1.5% of adults aged 18-64 had a high-deductible health plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA).

Don't let missing the ACA open enrollment period leave you feeling stranded without options. Explore the alternatives outlined above and secure health coverage that meets your needs. Remember, it's essential to stay insured and safeguard your health and finances.

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