What Are My Other Healthcare Options?
Outside the open enrollment period, you may be eligible for a special enrollment period if you’ve had a qualifying life event, most of which give you 60 days from the event date to choose coverage. These qualifying life events include:
- Getting Married: Marriage changes everything, often including healthcare plans.
- Having a Baby: Little ones come with special healthcare needs. You’ll have 60 days to choose a new plan if your existing plan isn’t a good fit for your growing family.
- Involuntary Loss of Coverage: If you’ve lost your healthcare coverage due to a layoff or divorce, you may qualify for a special enrollment.
- Permanent Move: Moving to another state is a qualifying event. However, to be eligible for a special enrollment period, you must have had minimum essential coverage for at least 1 day in the 60 days prior to your move.
- Newly Gained American Citizenship: New U.S. Citizens have 60 days to choose a plan from the marketplace.
- Enrollment Errors or Misconduct by a Marketplace Broker/Assister: If an error prevented you from getting coverage in time, you may qualify for special enrollment.
- Income Changes: If an income change made you eligible or ineligible for advanced premium tax credits and cost sharing, you qualify for a special enrollment period.
Short-term Health Plans
If you haven’t had a qualifying life event, you can still get coverage through a short-term health plan, which is usually less expensive than a traditional health plan. Often, coverage is effective within 24 hours of submitting your application.
An affordable alternative to traditional health plans is a healthshare plan, which can often save as much as 50% off your monthly medical expense coverage costs. Healthshare plans offer a legal way to opt out of Obamacare and its tax penalties. Moreover, coverage through a healthshare plan provides access to better healthcare provider networks than many marketplace plans.
There’s still time to qualify for a 1/1/18 effective date with healthshare plans.
- AlieraCare: Get an effective date 30, 60, or 90 days out. The last day to apply for a 1/1/18 effective date is December 31st.
- Medi-share: Apply by 12/28 for a 1/1/18 effective date.
- Altrua: Apply by the 28th for an effective coverage date on the 1st day of the following month.
Healthshare plans are not traditional health insurance. Instead, healthshare plans are offered through recognized health care sharing ministries (HCSMs), and as the name suggests, HCSMs are an innovative way to share medical expenses through faith-based groups by making affordable contributions rather than paying expensive monthly health insurance premiums.
Healthshare plan requirements:
- Applicants should be in good health. In most cases, Healthshare plans won’t cover pre-existing conditions for at least 2 years and some plans do not accept smokers.
- As plans sponsored by faith-based groups, some plans will require regular church attendance.
- Healthshare plans require you to sign a statement of principles. Some plans are Christian-based, while other plans are non-religious.
There’s still time left in Colorado’s open enrollment period, but you only have until January 12th. To get quotes and lock in your effective date—or if you’d like to learn more about short-term health plans or money-saving healthshare plans—reach out now. Our health plan experts can guide you through your options to affordably get the coverage you need.
Justin Brogdon is a Personal Benefits Manager at ColoHealth. His aim is to help you make smart and informed healthcare coverage decisions that will fit your needs and budget.