Health insurance is important. When you have the coverage you can easily receive routine checkups, fill prescriptions, visit a specialist, or take care of anything more serious. However, if you’re looking to enroll in health insurance outside of Open Enrollment, you don’t want to have to wait.
If you’re jobless you may be able to get a reasonable health insurance plan through the Marketplace, with savings dependent on your income and household size. You may also be eligible for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Your household size and income, not your employment status, decide what health coverage you’re qualified for and how much assistance you’ll get paying for coverage.
In this article, we’re going to go explore what is open enrollment, when is open enrollment, and how to get health insurance if you have no job.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Open Enrollment?
- 2 When Is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance?
- 3 Changing Health Insurance outside of Open Enrollment
- 4 How to get health insurance without a job?
- 5 Short-Term Health Insurance
- 6 Individual ACA Health Insurance
- 7 COBRA
- 8 Medicaid and/or CHIP
- 9 Medicare
- 10 Spouse or Parent’s Health Insurance Plan
- 11 I need Health insurance now?
What is Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment is a period of time every year when you can register for health insurance or change your plan (if your plan is provided by an employer, open enrollment is also a chance to cancel if you no longer want the coverage). If you don’t register for health insurance during the open enrollment, you most likely can’t register for health insurance until the next open enrollment period, unless you face a qualifying event.
If you’re qualified and submit an application for health insurance during the open enrollment, the health plan has to insure you. The company is not permitted to make use of medical underwriting or need evidence of insurability, both of which could make it tougher for you to get health insurance.
When Is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance?
The time of year for open enrollment is based on the health care plan you select.
Medicare open enrollment (for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans) runs from October 15 to December 7 each year, and there is a separate open enrollment period from January 1 to March 31 for people who already have Medicare Advantage. Keep in mind that the Medicare open enrollment periods are not applicable to Medigap plans, which don’t have an annual open enrollment period. Medigap plans are only accessible without medical underwriting throughout your initial enrollment period or during one of the very restricted special enrollment periods that apply to those plans, even though a few states have executed rules that let Medigap enrollees modify their their plans on an annual basis.
Job-based health insurance open enrollment periods are determined by your employer and can take place at any time of the year. Nevertheless, it’s very common for employers to have their open enrollment period in autumn so the new coverage starts on January 1 of the next year. But some employers prefer to have a health plan year that doesn’t line up with the calendar year, so for example, you might realize that your employer provides open enrollment in June, with a new plan year that starts in August.
According to healthcare.gov, open enrollment starts from November 1 through December 15,. Coverage starts on January 1 of the following year. If you don’t sign up for a plan by December 15, you can only get the following year’s Marketplace coverage if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
If you’re returning to HealthCare.gov and want to continue your current plan for next year, you should inform any changes to the Marketplace, like higher or lower-income, adding or losing household members, or getting offers of other health coverage. Changes may affect your coverage alternatives and the savings you’re qualified for.
When you register, healthCare.gov will also let you know if you meet the criteria for savings that can make Marketplace insurance less costly, or for free or low-cost health coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Changing Health Insurance outside of Open Enrollment
There are numerous “qualifying” reasons to make plan changes outside of open enrollment. They involve changes to your legal marital status, including marriage, death of a spouse, legal separation, and divorce or annulment. A few additional reasons are changes in your dependents through birth and death or adoption, or a qualified dependent (such as a young adult) losing or gaining other coverage. Also if there is a move by you or your spouse; a change in your spouse’s benefits; and changes in your or your spouse’s employment status, such as going part-time, quitting, or being laid-off, you’ll also be qualified to make changes to your plan. The change you are making must be attached to the qualified reason. For instance, moving your residence alone isn’t an excuse to change medical or dental insurance plans; only if your old plans are not accessible in the new area would you be eligible to make a plan change.
How to get health insurance without a job?
There are numerous different options for unemployed individuals looking for health insurance:
Short-Term Health Insurance
Short-term health insurance plans are meant to cover emergencies and unforeseen ailments. They are not expected to be used as a long-lasting solution to fulfill your healthcare needs. It’s crucial to remember that short-term, or temporary, health insurance is not in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This implies short-term health insurance will not cover pre-existing conditions or comprise other comprehensive benefits. Furthermore, temporary health insurance is not a certain issue. This entails that you’ll be inquired about your health history and could probably be denied coverage, based on your answers to those questions.
Who Should Consider Short-Term Health Insurance?
Short-term health insurance is ideal for people who:
- Require affordable health insurance for a short period of time.
- Want temporary health insurance for unemployed periods of time.
- Need to purchase health insurance when leaving one job and starting a new one.
- Are seasonal employees who need temporary health insurance.
- Are college students who aged out of a parent’s policy.
- Retired early and need coverage until their Medicare benefits commence.
- Missed the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) and are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).
- Cannot pay for, or do not want to purchase, COBRA insurance
How Do You Buy Short-Term Health Insurance?
Most short-term plans are simple to obtain and can be a useful solution if you’re seeking medical insurance for unemployed people. The premiums have a tendency to be cheap, averaging around $116 per month for an individual. Nevertheless, the deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses for short-term plans are typically more costly than those for comprehensive ACA health plans.
After submitting an application, your medical history is examined. If you are accepted for coverage, benefits can start in as little as 24 hours. The coverage period is flexible, with plans starting at one month of coverage. Based on the plans offered in your area and state regulations, you may be able to buy back-to-back plans and register for coverage for almost 3 years. States can establish their own restrictions on these plans, so the length of time you’re authorized to have short-term coverage may be more limited depending upon where you live.
Individual ACA Health Insurance
Another alternative is to buy a qualified health plan that fulfills the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). Normally, losing job-based benefits may make you qualified for a SEP, which lets you buy health benefits outside of the annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
How Can I Get Individual Health Insurance?
You can purchase individual health insurance for unemployed individuals through a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). SEP offers you 60 days to register for a complete health insurance plan for you only, or you and your family — after a qualifying life event. You can sign up as soon as your qualifying event occurs. There are a number of qualifying life events that can make you qualified for an SEP, including:
- You lose your health insurance plan at work
- You get married or divorced
- You have or adopt a child
- You’re no longer a dependent on someone else’s policy
- You gained or became a dependent through marriage, birth, adoption, or placement for adoption
- You lose Medicaid or CHIP coverage
- Your insurance carrier made a mistake on your insurance contract or made an enrollment error
- You have a Marketplace plan and your status for getting help to pay for your plan changes
- You moved and need to pick another plan based on the insurance coverage area
- Your immigration status changes
- And other qualifying life events
How Much Is Health Insurance Without a Job?
The expense of a health insurance plan without a job can change. Though, there are ways to reduce your costs if you select an Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance plan. When you start exploring for an individual health insurance plan, you should pay special consideration to subsidies. If you meet the criteria for them, subsidies can decrease the cost of your monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Here are two of the main subsidy categories.
A premium tax credit is a kind of subsidy that can assist to reduce your monthly premiums if you’re qualified. You can opt to have the credit paid directly to your health insurance provider to be applied toward your premium, or you can request your premium amount when you file your income tax return.
A cost-sharing reduction (CSR), also called “extra savings,” is a type of subsidy that can help cut your out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance. If you meet the criteria, you have to register for a Silver plan to get hold of the extra savings.
The national average for premiums after subsidies is $143. The national average with no premium subsidies is $612. You can verify your suitability for these subsidies online.
COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a means to keep your employer-based health insurance after losing, or leaving, a job. This coverage can last up to 3 years, but you will be accountable for the total amount of your coverage. This implies that you will be required to pay your regular premium, plus the amount your company was formerly given. Because of the expense, COBRA is not a perfect type of health insurance for unemployed individuals who are facing a financial crisis.
Medicaid and/or CHIP
Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) are health insurance programs for low-income individuals who require health insurance coverage. Costs for these plans differ by state. To be qualified for these programs, you will be required to show that you fulfill your state’s required income limitations.
If you are 65 or older, or have a qualifying illness, Medicare may be a good long-term solution for people looking to buy health insurance with no job. Medicare has many parts, so we’ll quickly examine the Medicare basics here.
Original Medicare is Parts A and B.
Medicare Part A covers inpatient care, like hospital stays. Part A doesn’t have a premium for individuals who have paid taxes to Medicare for at least 10 years in total.
Medicare Part B covers outpatient care, like doctor visits. In 2020, standard Part B premiums are $144.60.
Medicare Part C, also referred to as Medicare Advantage, consists of the same benefits as Parts A and B (Original Medicare). Medicare Advantage plans also may cover prescription drugs, dental, vision, and hearing services. Part C plans can have $0 premiums*, and the average cost for a PPO plan is $39.
Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. The average Part D premium is $33.19. Because Original Medicare (Parts A and B) doesn’t cover prescription drugs, Part D may be required.
Medicare Supplement insurance, also called Medigap, covers out-of-pocket expenses for Parts A and B. The premiums for Medicare Supplement plans fluctuate greatly depending on the benefits.
If you want assistance finding a Medicare plan that’s suitable for your needs, take a view at your Medicare options online.
Spouse or Parent’s Health Insurance Plan
If your spouse has coverage through their employer, it may be likely for you to be added to their plan outside the annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Ask your spouse to speak to their company’s HR department to find out.
If you’re under age 26 and your parent’s health insurance plan covers dependents, you typically can be added to their plan. But you can only stay on it until you turn 26.
I need Health insurance now?
If you’re reading this article then it means you need health insurance now. So what are your choices for purchasing a health plan in the individual health insurance market today, tomorrow, or at any other point during the year?
It completely depends on the type of insurance and when you sign up for it.
The first thing you should know prior to buying health insurance is that registering for health insurance coverage isn’t similar to having coverage in effect. You may be able to sign up for a health plan today, but that coverage may not take effect for several weeks.
Some of the things to keep in mind when considering to buy health insurance now are:
- Consumers can buy ACA-compliant health plans during the open enrollment, but 2021 coverage isn’t effective until January t.
- Consumers in most states can buy short-term coverage at any time during the year and coverage can be effective within days – often by the next business day.
- If you face a qualifying event or are Native American, you can buy ACA-compliant coverage today, but possibly will have to wait until at least the start of next month before the coverage is in force.
- If you don’t have a qualifying event, you can’t purchase ACA-compliant coverage until open enrollment.
- If you fulfill the Medicaid or CHIP standard requirements of the state where you live, you may be able to register for Medicaid or CHIP and have coverage in place instantly.