You missed open enrollment for 2018--can you still get health insurance for 2019?
For traditional health insurance, you’ll have to wait till November 1st of this year. But thankfully, there are still a host of options available to you!
Short-term medical is a traditional insurance route designed to fill in all sorts of gaps. Whether you missed open enrollment or are simply waiting for your job’s benefits to kick in, you don’t have go a single month without healthcare coverage.
Available for installments of 1-12 months, short-term medical plans offer the same benefits as long-term plans, such as:
These plans aren’t designed to cover, necessarily, for niggling costs like doctor’s visits, but are there for true emergencies: hospital visits, urgent care, and the like. You’ll know you’re covered for the greater of risks, and all without going through Open Enrollment’s loopholes.
Ministry Health Plans
Also known as healthcare sharing ministries, these plans have existed as an alternative to health insurance for several decades but are just now experiencing a surge in popularity.
Ministry health plans are NOT insurance. Therefore they are NOT subject to the open enrollment regulations. They still operate on the same principles of insurance (pooling together resources to mitigate risk) and offer competitive healthcare packages.
The key things to note are:
Anything that covers above and beyond minimum essential coverage counts as supplemental insurance, or ancillary products.
Ancillary products like vision and dental insurance are free from the open enrollment deadline. Other products could include critical illness, long term care, and disability insurance.
These narrowly focused products offer cheaper premiums and, in the case of critical illness insurance especially, can deliver the most bang for your buck should the worst come to pass.
Our main concern with insurance is always the emergencies that fall into the “expensive and unexpected” category, and if you’re waiting for your minimum essential coverage, they can cover for some for the more extreme cases.
Our last suggestion is different from both traditional health insurance and healthcare sharing ministries. Whether you’re covered or not, patient advocacy programs can provide you their services for a simple monthly fee.
What are these services? Healthcare advocates focus on reducing your out-of-pocket costs when it comes to medical bills. They want you to receive the most reasonable charges (if any). They work with insurance carriers, doctors, and administrators to fight on your behalf and get you a UCR (usual, customary, and reasonable) charge that is UCR.