ACA Open Enrollment is Closing - What Are Your Insurance Options?
The White House has announced that the 2014 cut-off for open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not be extended beyond the March 31 deadline. Some Americans were waiting to see if the date would be moved following the extension of the deadline to enroll in qualifying health insurance policies[DS1] . Since the deadline remains unchanged, most consumers have less than a month to sign up for a healthcare plan through their state insurance exchange. Barring a life event – marriage or job loss, for example – enrollment will be closed for the year.
With the deadline confirmed, here are the choices available to Americans not covered by a plan through their employer:
- Enroll in a Marketplace Plan – As noted above, you have less than one month to purchase a Marketplace plan until the next enrollment period, which is scheduled for November. If you purchase a plan before March 15, the policy would begin on April 1. If you purchase between March 16 and March 31, the policy will start on May 1.
- Enroll in an ACA Plan Outside the Marketplace – Though the Health Insurance Marketplace will be closed after March 31, you will still be able to purchase ACA-compliant plans from individual insurance carriers at any time. However, you will not be able to take advantage of the premium-reduction tax credit available on plans purchased through the Marketplace.
- Stick with Your Current, Non-Compliant Plan – Insurance companies were supposed to begin cancelling non-compliant policies beginning in October. The Obama administration has extended the deadline for switching from a non-compliant policy for an additional two years. If you’re comfortable with your current policy, you may want to keep it.
- Purchase Short Term Medical (STM) Insurance – STM policies can be purchased by those looking for a temporary solution to fill the gaps in their health coverage. An STM plan can cover you while you wait for another plan to kick in, or even if you’re not sure which long-term plan is for you, and you need more time to figure out your options.
Short Term Medical (STM) plans from HCC Life Insurance Company don’t meet the ten essential requirements for ACA plans. By enrolling in an STM policy, you would have to pay a $95 penalty in 2014, or 1% of your adjusted gross income; whichever is higher. Depending on your health status, however, STM plans may be less expensive. Even with the 2014 penalty, you may still be able to find a policy that costs less annually than those available through the ACA marketplace. And you can usually secure STM coverage within 24 hours by completing a simple online form.
Are you trying to figure out the best option for your health insurance coverage? Read more about our Short Term Medical plan or get a free quote to see if short term medical is the right insurance for your personal situation.