When is Open Enrollment for ObamaCare, Medicaid, Medicare and Other Insurance Types?
ObamaCare open enrollment ended March 31, 2014. If you missed ObamaCare’s open enrollment period for 2014 you won’t be able to sign up until November 15th, 2014 (start of open enrollment 2015). Open enrollment is the only time of year you can get a major medical plan that count as minimum essential coverage in the individual and family market without qualifying for a special enrollment period. This is true both inside and outside the health insurance marketplace.
• The only way to get subsided insurance is by enrolling in the health insurance marketplace.
• To avoid the fee for 2014 you needed to get coverage that started by May 1st, 2014.
• If you missed the deadline to sign up for health insurance you may still have options.
There are many different types of health insurance that count as minimum essential coverage and each has it’s own unique enrollment period. Let’s take a look at the open enrollment periods for ObamaCare’s health insurance marketplace, Medicare, Medicaid and CHIP, job based coverage and off-marketplace private insurance plans.
ObamaCare Open Enrollment Period
ObamaCare’s open enrollment period is an annual period of time when you can enroll in a plan inside or outside the marketplace, switch plans, get cost assistance, and apply for Medicaid through the marketplace.
The only way to get major medical insurance known as minimum essential coverage (the type of coverage you’ll need to avoid the fee) is to enroll in a plan during open enrollment or by qualifying for a special enrollment period. This is true both inside and outside of the marketplace as insurers have unofficially adopted ObamaCare’s enrollment periods for all major medical coverage!
ObamaCare Open Enrollment 2014
ObamaCare’s 2014 open enrollment period started October 1st, 2013 and ended March 31st, 2014.
ObamaCare Extended Open Enrollment
If you signed up for the marketplace by March 31st, 2014, but weren’t able to enroll you were able to check a box that allowed you to enroll until mid-April due to a last minute extension. This was a one time extension for open enrollment 2014 only.
ObamaCare Open Enrollment 2015
ObamaCare’s open enrollment 2015 starts on November 15th, 2014 and continues until February 15th, 2015. Starting in 2015 open enrollment only lasts for three months, however this open enrollment period is subject to change.
What Happens if I Missed ObamaCare’s Open Enrollment?
If you miss open enrollment in ObamaCare you won’t be able sign up again until the next open enrollment period without qualifying for a special enrollment period.
Special Enrollment Periods
A special enrollment period time outside of the open enrollment period when you and your family can sign up for health insurance. Most types of health insurance have special enrollment periods for certain qualifying life events, but all types of health insurance have different criteria. below are the rules for ObamaCare’s special enrollment period:
You may qualify for a special enrollment period of 60 days following certain life events that involve a change in family status (for example, marriage or birth of a child) or loss of other health coverage.
If you don’t have a special enrollment period, you can’t buy insurance inside or outside the Marketplace until the next open enrollment period. Job-based plans generally allow special enrollment periods of 30 days.
ObamaCare Qualifying Events
The following life events will generally qualify you for a special enrollment period under ObamaCare.
- Getting married
- Having, adopting, or placement of a child
- Permanently moving to a new area that offers different health plan options
- Losing other health coverage (for example due to a job loss, divorce, loss of eligibility for Medicaid or CHIP, expiration of COBRA coverage, or a health plan being decertified). Note: Voluntarily quitting other health coverage or being terminated for not paying your premiums are not considered loss of coverage. Losing coverage that is not minimum essential coverage is also not considered loss of coverage.)
- For people already enrolled in Marketplace coverage, having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for tax credits or cost-sharing reductions
ObamaCare Enrollment Advice
During ObamaCare’s open enrollment you need to create an account through your states marketplace, choose a plan, and enroll before the deadline. The verification process during applying for an account can take time, beyond that choosing the right plan and making sure you are enrolled can take some time to. Don’t leave the process until the last minute and make sure you enroll in ObamaCare each years open enrollment deadline.
Private Health Insurance Enrollment Periods
While there are no official enrollment periods for private health insurance purchased outside of the marketplace, insurers have adopted the marketplace open enrollment model.
Many individual and families plans could be purchased at anytime before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Due to the new rights and protections insurers have adopted a new model which subjects individual and family plans to the same enrollment periods set forth by the ACA. There is no wording in the law that makes it mandatory, rather this practice has been adopted to avoid sick people going without coverage and signing up at the last minute. Most plans found in the interim will be short term health insurance options, which won’t help you avoid the fee for not having insurance and can’t be subsided under the Affordable Care Act.
Even if you missed open enrollment for ObamaCare you can still buy some private health insurance plan outside of the marketplace, but many won’t help you to avoid the per month fee for not having insurance.
Medicaid and CHIP Open Enrollment
Medicaid and CHIP can be enrolled in at anytime and that coverage can start retroactively up to two months. If you want to make life easy and sign up for Medicaid or CHIP through the marketplace you’ll have to sign up before March 31st, 2014. If you miss open enrollment in the marketplace you have other Medicaid sign up options.
ObamaCare Open Enrollment Small Business
ObamaCare’s open enrollment for small businesses originally started during 2014 open enrollment (Oct 1st, 2013 – March 31st, 2014). However the SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) marketplace that allows businesses with 50 or less full-time equivalent employees to enroll doesn’t start until open enrollment 2015 (Nov 15th – Jan 15th 2014). Starting 2016 small businesses with between 50-100 full-time equivalent employees can use the marketplace in states that don’t allow this sooner. Small businesses can still get small business tax credits through an agent retroactively since 2010 and moving forward each year until they can use the marketplace to apply for tax credits.
Medicare Open Enrollment
For most people, the initial enrollment period for Medicare Part A and Part B starts 3 months before their 65th birthday and ends 3 months after their 65th birthday. After initial open enrollment there are two open enrollments each year where you can switch your plan or add to it. The first general enrollment period goes from January to March with coverage starting July 1st.
Individuals who have Medicare Part A and Part B may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Election Period (AEP), the second enrollment period, which lasts from October 15 through December 7. Individuals who were eligible for Medicare Part A or enrolled in Part B as of the effective date of coverage can enroll in a Part D plan or switch Part D plans during this time. Individuals can also enroll in a Part D plan if they had qualified for a Special Election Period (SEP).
In addition, beneficiaries have from January 1 through February 14 to dis-enroll from their plan and return to traditional Medicare. A Medicare Advantage enrollee, however, cannot switch from his or her existing Medicare Advantage plan to a different plan during this period.
Learn more about Medicare open enrollment peroids.
Open Enrollment For Job Based Insurance
The open enrollment period for job based insurance is different for each employer. Open enrollment typically occurs sometime in the fall, but not always. Your employer should notify you about your open enrollment period.
Like ObamaCare your employer will have a special enrollment period for qualifying life events and new hires. Contact your Human Resources department for employer specific details.
When Is Open Enrollment For Health Insurance?