If you need health insurance right now, you may be in luck if it's during open enrollment. The Affordable Care Act sets up a four-month period (open enrollment) when everyone may either re-enroll in their insurance, change insurance or buy insurance. The exception to this rule is you may purchase health insurance outside of open enrollment if you have a “qualifying event” such as getting married or having a baby.
Important dates to remember for 2018 coverage
- November 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017 – Open Enrollment Period for 2018 health coverage
- December 31, 2017 – The last date of the current policy year
- January 1, 2018 – The first day of the 2018 policy year
- December 15, 2017 – The last day to enroll in 2017 coverage (unless you have a qualifying event)
- Insurance Coverage Start Dates – Keep in mind, if you want your insurance to start at the beginning of next month, you have to enroll by the 15th of the month prior
What if I need health insurance and I miss the enrollment period?
You need to have a qualifying event. A qualifying event is a change in your life that makes you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period in Wisconsin. Examples of qualifying life events include moving to or from Wisconsin, certain changes in your income, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, or have a baby). All these events may put you in need of a new health insurance plan right now. (Dropping your insurance coverage or losing it because you don’t pay your premiums are not qualifying events).
Even with a qualifying event, there is a specific time frame when you must buy health insurance in Wisconsin. You usually have about 60 days after a qualifying event to buy health insurance. If you’re buying insurance for you or your family through the Health Insurance Marketplace or directly from a local health insurance company, this rule applies. If you don’t have a qualifying event, you may have to pay a fee for not having health insurance.
If you’re wondering if your life change qualifies, Unity can help! See if you’re eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan now. For questions and additional help, contact Unity for more information.