Some Insurance Providers Aren't Selling Individual Plans After the ACA Deadline
You might be out of luck if you’re expecting to buy health insurance later this year outside of the Health Insurance Marketplace.
With few exceptions, insurance companies have stopped selling the individual healthcare plans that are typically available to Americans year-round until next year. This move by insurance companies is a little-noticed consequence of the Affordable Care Act that’s locking out some Americans from getting coverage, according to The Associated Press.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the Health Insurance Marketplace in an attempt to provide more affordable health insurance for U.S. citizens and legal residents. Beginning this year, Americans who don’t enroll in an ACA-compliant plan for at least nine months and don’t quality for an exemption will have to pay a tax penalty.
Open enrollment for 2014 coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace closed on March 31. Many Americans rushed to complete their applications on the eve of the deadline, while others who missed the deadline are still evaluating their health insurance options.
The open enrollment period for 2015 Marketplace coverage will begin in November. Some Insurance providers are following that schedule even for plans they sell outside of the Marketplace, the AP reported.
While the ACA allows insurance providers to keep selling all year, it also creates conditions that are prompting them to stop selling policies between open enrollment periods, according to the AP report from April 4, 2014.
The ACA bans insurers from rejecting customers due to poor health, which insurers say makes it too risky to sell individual policies year-round, the AP story said.
Many were unaware of the Marketplace deadline
Not all uninsured Americans were even aware of the March deadline.
In fact, some six in 10 uninsured Americans were unaware of the deadline as the end of open enrollment neared, according to a poll by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
If you’re still trying to figure out your health insurance coverage situation, you might want to consider another option: Short Term Medical (STM) insurance.
STM policies usually last between one month and 364 days, and are typically bought by people who are looking to bridge insurance coverage gaps. While Short Term Medical policies tend to have more limited benefits than ACA plans, they also tend to be cheaper due to the reduced benefits. To be ACA-compliant, policies must meet the law’s ten essential requirements.
If you don’t need all the benefits offered by an ACA-compliant plan, you might want to consider getting STM until the next open enrollment period that begins this November.
Still trying to figure out your best health insurance coverage? Click here to get your free STM quote.