Updated: September 28, 2018
You need health insurance, and you need it fast. So the question is, how do you get health insurance now?
That’s what we’re here to help with. Open Enrollment may be over, and the marketplace may be closed, but guess what? You can still get health insurance today!
How Long Does It Take To Get Health Insurance?
That really depends. Your health insurance can take months to go into effect, weeks, or it can go into effect almost instantly.
Take this example for instance. Each year, the health insurance marketplace opens on November 1, which is the first day of Open Enrollment. If you were to enroll in a marketplace plan on the first possible day, your coverage would begin on January 1 of the following year. This scenario means it takes 2 months for your health coverage to begin.
What if you don’t enroll in through marketplace? Then it could take anywhere from a day to a few weeks to get health insurance. Some health plans only take effect after your application has been processed, which can take a few weeks, while others begin as soon as your application is received.
Your best bet is to talk to a licensed health insurance agent or broker. These are professionals in the healthcare industry who will have all the answers you are looking for.
How Fast Can You Get Health Coverage?
There are plenty of health insurance options available that provide coverage instantly for anyone looking for health insurance now. Most notably short-term health insurance plans, also known as temporary health insurance which will be touched upon later. While you may be able to get health insurance immediately, shopping for a plan can take some time.
Like any big purchase you are going to make, or have made in the past, you want to do your homework. Going with the cheapest health insurance option you find could end up costing you way more down the road. You can read more about the pros and cons of cheap health insurance plans here.
Luckily, there are free online services and quote tools that help you speed up your search. However, if you’re unfamiliar with health insurance and it’s hidden costs, you may be better off working with an independent health insurance broker or agent.
How To Get Health Insurance Today
Now that you know you can get health insurance fast, you’re probably wondering what the next steps are. Well, let’s take a look at your options.
Buy Health Insurance On Your Own
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, may have hurt the private health insurance sector, but it didn’t kill it. In fact, there are tons of private health insurance companies that operate outside the health insurance marketplace and offer affordable, quality coverage. The best part is that you can enroll in one of these plans at any point during the year. Check out some of your options here!
So, if you’re looking for health insurance that’s not Obamacare, you may have more options than you realize. However, if you are looking for subsidies for your health coverage, you will need to enroll in an Obamacare plan to qualify.
Qualify For A Special Enrollment Period
Are you familiar with Special Enrollment Periods? If you are, then you may already know about the loopholes in the Affordable Care Act that let you enroll in Obamacare marketplace plans at any point during the year. Even if Open Enrollment has already ended.
To qualify for a Special Enrollment Period you have to have recently had a Qualifying Life Event, which you can read more about here. Basically, if you have recently lost your job, moved, gotten married, had a child, or any major change in your life, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, then enroll through your state or federal marketplace within 60 days of your qualifying life event taking place. Remember though, marketplace health insurance plans may have a longer waiting period between when you apply and when your coverage kicks in.
If you need health coverage between jobs or health insurance that starts immediately, you want a short-term health plan. short-term health insurance is designed to keep people protected while they are between coverage.
There are some drawbacks to short-term health insurance plans you will need to consider. First of all, your short-term health coverage probably won’t meet the requirements for a Major Medical Plan. This means that if the individual mandate is still around, a short-term plan won’t save you from paying a tax penalty.
Since short-term plans are temporary, you may not get the same quality of coverage you would from a regular health insurance plan. So while these plans may be perfect for when you’re in between coverage, you may want to go with a health insurance plan with more substance for the long haul.
Best short-term Health Insurance Plans
As mentioned earlier, short-term health insurance plans don’t meet the minimum essential benefits requirement. This mandate effectively outlawed short-term health insurance plans, and most companies don’t even offer these plans.
That being said, as part of President Trump’s attempt to dismantle Obamacare may be bringing short-term health insurance plans back. Some of the top-rated short-term health insurance plans can be purchased from the following 3 companies:
Get A Health Insurance Quote Fast
Now that you know your options, it’s time to start your search, and FirstQuote Health is here to help. Whether you choose to go with a short-term health insurance plan and get health insurance today, or you’re ok waiting a bit for a higher quality health plan, we got you covered. Enter your zip code to compare health insurance quotes in your area, and get covered today.