US Healthcare System Explained - Here’s How It WorksRead More
Open Enrollment is now closed for business. And you still don't have health insurance. You forgot to sign up in time, or you just waited too long. Or maybe you didn't procrastinate at all -- you just didn't want it.
Whatever your excuse, we won't judge. You're not the only one to miss the deadline.
After all, Obamacare is a very new law. And this is only the second year that Americans had to use Open Enrollment to sign up for health insurance. (Before 2014, you could sign up anytime of the year.)
Before you blame yourself (or Obama), listen up: You still have options. Here's what to do if you missed Open Enrollment, in three easy steps.
1) Look At The Year Ahead
When you think about your life in 2017, do you predict any major events to happen? Here are some examples:
- You turn 26
- One of your kids turns 26
- You have a baby or adopt a child
- You move to a new state
- You get U.S. citizenship
If none of those apply to you, then think about the circumstances that no one can predict:
- You lose your job
- Your employer changes their health insurance plan
- You get divorced or separated
- Your spouse dies
If you go through any of these major events in 2017, you can get health insurance outside Open Enrollment. These major events are called qualifying life events, and if they happen to you, then you can sign up for Special Enrollment. This is a period of 60 days when you can buy health insurance, even after Open Enrollment has closed. Just talk talk to an insurance agent. They'll help you find a plan that works for you.
2) Just Wait
If you don't have insurance yet, you can still get a free quote to see what your new rate could be.
But be warned: Going without insurance means you'll have to pay a penalty. It's $325 or 2% of your household income -- whichever number is higher.
3) Go For The Alternative
If you missed Open Enrollment, and you don't have a qualifying life event, you can't get an Obamacare plan. But you can look for alternate coverage. These plans will cover you for the "what ifs" in life. So in case you have a major illness or injury, you won't have to foot the whole bill by yourself.
Since alternate coverage doesn't count as Obamacare, you'll still have to pay the tax penalty. But at least you'll have basic coverage. Because having some form of insurance is much better than having none at all.
If you're interested in this option, talk to an insurance agent. They'll tell you which plans you can buy.
Don't Let Open Enrollment Keep You From Getting Insurance
Whatever option you decide on, you can always get help. Use First Quote Health, and you'll be put in touch with an expert agent. They'll look at your situation and tell you how to get insured today.