So you've missed the deadline to sign up for Marketplace health insurance—don’t panic! We’ll walk you through your options for getting health insurance coverage after missing the deadline.
Open Enrollment periods serve as designated windows for consumers to sign up for Marketplace coverage. It's the government's framework for giving insurers the same amount of time to price and sell policies, and for consumers to shop around to get the best coverage for their individual needs.
The first action to take since you've missed the deadline is to determine if you've had a Qualifying Life Event that would qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period and thus allow you to still purchase a plan through the Marketplace. Here are some examples of Qualifying Life Events:
Start a Marketplace application if you think you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. When you complete your application and get to your "To-Do list" page, you'll see a statement that you can enroll only if you've had a Special Enrollment Period. Continue the process and enroll in a plan.
You can also contact the Marketplace Call Center 24/7 to apply by phone and ask the representative if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
If you feel that you're unfairly rejected for Marketplace coverage, you can appeal a Marketplace decision by writing a letter to:
Health Insurance Marketplace
465 Industrial Boulevard
London, KY 40750-0061
You can also submit an appeal request form. Download an appeal request form for your state from healthcare.gov.
If you don't qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you can purchase a short-term medical insurance plan that offers limited benefits for a short period of time. These types of plans are meant to cover short gaps in health insurance coverage, such as the time span between ACA Open Enrollment periods.
If you choose to purchase a short term policy, it’s important to know that it is truly meant for short breaks in coverage, and is not compliant with the ACA minimum essential requirements. As long as you only hold a short term policy for no longer than two consecutive months, you will not be subject to the tax penalty.
Other options for obtaining coverage outside of the open enrollment period include applying for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). You can apply for free or low-cost coverage through these programs at any time of the year. If you qualify, you can also enroll immediately. Learn more here.