How Do You Go About Buying Health Insurance After Open Enrollment?

  • April 28, 2016
  • |Quartz
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About 33-million non-elderly people didn’t have health insurance last year. About half of these people could have gotten financial assistance to pay for it.1 Instead, most are liable to pay a fine for not having insurance!

Unfortunately, you can’t just go out and buy health insurance when you want it.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created “Open Enrollment” periods when everyone can sign up for health insurance. To get health insurance in 2016, you would have had to buy it between November 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016.

If you’re one of the 410,000 people in Wisconsin without health insurance, it may be possible to get health insurance outside of open enrollment. Two common methods are –

  1. Sign up for BadgerCare Plus. Thirty-two percent of non-elderly people in Wisconsin are actually eligible to get BadgerCare Plus. You can sign up for this any time during the year. Eligibility is based on income.
  2. Use a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to buy your own plan. If you’ve experienced any of the following common life events within the past 60 days, you can probably get health insurance outside of open enrollment –
    • You or someone in your household lost qualifying health coverage
    • Got married
    • Had a baby or adopted a child
    • Got divorced or legally separated and lost health insurance because of it
    • Moved
    • Other SEP life events

If you know you’re going to have a life event that allows you to get health insurance outside of open enrollment, start looking for plans now. In some cases, you may be able to sign up so your insurance starts as soon as you have a qualifying life event. You may even be eligible for subsidies to help pay for your plan.


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