If you meet someone who claims they don’t procrastinate, they’re probably lying to you, or they may happen to be one of the few who has the self-control the majority of the country lack. People often put off important tasks until the last minute, knowing full well that it will lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety as the deadline approaches. Regardless, we choose to do it anyway, it’s in our nature. The same goes for people looking to enroll in health coverage, but here’s why you shouldn’t wait until the last day of Open Enrollment to sign up for the coverage you need.
Open Enrollment Dates - 2019
Whether you are looking to switch your health insurance plan or sign up for coverage for the first time, most Americans find it easier to do so during the Open Enrollment Period. Often abbreviated OE, Open Enrollment was created under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and is when anyone looking for individual or family medical insurance plans can enroll, and even qualify for government subsidies.
Originally, the Obamacare Open Enrollment lasted a total of 90 days, starting November 1, and running through January 1 the following year like clockwork. However, that all changed when President Trump took over, who decided to shorten the window for enrollment for everyone. For that reason, Open Enrollment 2019 will run through the following dates:
- November 1, 2018 - December 15, 2018
There are certain exceptions to the rule though. Some states decided to push back against the current administration’s 45-day enrollment window, and you can look here to see if you’re state makes the list.
When To Enroll In Medicare
For most of the population, if you’re under 65 years old, then you’re not going to qualify for Medicare, but there are exceptions. If you are living with certain disabilities like end-stage renal disease (ESRD), ALS, or have been receiving Social Security Disability (SSI) benefits for 25 or more months, you may be eligible. If any of those apply to you, then you’ll want to be aware of Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
Medicare’s AEP is comparable to the Obamacare Open Enrollment Period and is when individuals can switch or sign up for new plans. It runs each year between the following dates:
- October 15 - December 7
Unfortunately, you won’t benefit too much from this article if you are eligible for Medicare, but we recommend getting a quote and seeing what options are available in your area through FirstQuote Medicare.
Consequences Of Missing Open Enrollment
Waiting till the last day to sign up for health insurance provides the very real possibility that you may miss the Affordable Care Act’s Open Enrollment window altogether. If that happens, then you may very well be stuck in quite a predicament. Even if that happens, it should be noted that there is still plenty you can do in the even you miss Open Enrollment.
While you can still enroll in health insurance plans at any time throughout the year, there are some frustrating realities that you will have to come to terms with. The following are some of the biggest issues you face when you procrastinate with your health coverage.
No Subsidies Or Premium Tax Credits
One of the main reasons the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed was to help create a marketplace in which families and individuals could enroll in comprehensive coverage without taking out a second mortgage on their house. To accomplish this, people could apply for subsidized coverage or premium tax credits during Open Enrollment and may qualify based on income. However, you are only eligible during Open Enrollment, so don’t miss out!
Pre-Existing Conditions Not Guaranteed
As one of the most revolutionary pieces of legislation in the history of healthcare in the US, you cannot be denied coverage for health insurance based on your medical history, or even charged more for premiums. That’s why so many people living with pre-existing conditions wait until the Open Enrollment Period to sign up for affordable coverage.
Unqualified Health Plans
Lastly, and this is important, health insurance plans offered on the ACA marketplace are required, by law, to provide comprehensive coverage. That means you won’t be enrolling in plans that skimp out on coverage, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you are protected against costly medical bills. Outside of the marketplace, plans aren’t required to meet the minimum essential benefits.
Why You Shouldn’t Wait Until The Last Day Of Open Enrollment
Signing up as soon as possible allows you to have plenty of time to pick a plan that works for you. You will have the peace of mind of knowing that you are signed up and will have coverage on January 1 of 2019. If you wait until the last day to sign up, you are risking missing the cutoff in the event of website problems. You also won’t have the time to do proper research in order to determine the best plan for your needs.
If you are unable to sign up by the last day of the enrollment period, you can enter your zip code to explore your other options. We can see if you qualify for any Qualifying Life Events and determine the cost for a plan which meets the federal requirements. We can also determine your eligibility for a basic plan which will cover emergency needs.