The ACA Open Enrollment Period only comes around once a year, usually lasting from November 1- December 15, although this year the deadline has been extended to January 15. During this period, you can enroll in a new health insurance plan, or make changes to your current plan. If you’re happy with your current plan, though, you might opt to not do anything at all during the Open Enrollment Period – but not doing anything can have certain consequences, depending on your situation.
You Could Get Stuck With Your Current Plan
This might not necessarily be a bad thing if you are happy with your current plan, but if your plan isn’t quite right for you, you will unfortunately be stuck with it until the next Open Enrollment Period opens up again.
You’ll Miss The Opportunity To Change Your Plan
If you don’t take the opportunity to review your current plan and do nothing during the Open Enrollment Period, you won’t be able to change your plan. What this really means is that your health insurance might:
- Not provide enough coverage for the following year, which will cost you money.
- Have too much coverage that you don’t need, essentially leaving you to pay for insurance that you don’t need.
- Be too expensive. If you don’t change your plan during the OEP, you’ll be stuck with the rise in rates and costs for the following year.
Options Are Limited Afterwards
If you don’t have health insurance and are looking to enroll in a plan, but you do nothing during the Open Enrollment Period, you won’t be able to get a Marketplace or exchange health insurance plan – in other words, you won’t be able to get an ACA-compliant health plan. With that being said, you do have other options even if you miss the OEP, but you should be aware that they are very limited. For example, you can opt to get a short-term health insurance plan that covers the essentials and nothing more; this type of insurance is temporary and not ideal for those who require more comprehensive coverage, or have health conditions. Short term plans are not guaranteed issue, meaning they do not cover pre-existing conditions.
You Will Need To Qualify For an SEP
The only way to get an affordable health insurance plan that is ACA-compliant outside of the OEP is to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, or SEP. A Special Enrollment Period is only available to those who have a qualifying life event, including:
- Change in residence (moving to a different zip code or county)
- Change in household size (having a baby or adopting a child, getting married, or getting divorced)
- Loss of health insurance (losing employment, turning 26 and getting kicked off of a parent’s plan, or a death in the family)
- Changes in income
Don’t Do Nothing…
Compare plans! There’s no harm in comparing plans and seeing your options before the Open Enrollment Period ends. But we get that it can be a headache to try and research all the different plans around, so we’re here to help! Our highly trained agents will take the time to talk with you and thoroughly explain all of your options. Once you are ready to enroll, they will search through all the plans in your area and find the right plan for you, making sure the plan fits your needs and budget. EZ always provides you with your own personal agent, so there’s never any need to worry about bouncing around from agent to agent or getting hassled by endless sales calls. To get started, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to an agent directly, call 888-350-1890.