TAHU: Those Who Missed the ACA Enrollment Deadline Still Have Options

May 08, 2014, 10:00 ET from Texas Association of Health Underwriters

AUSTIN, Texas, May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- With the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) March 31 deadline for 2014 health plan enrollment now having passed, many consumers are asking, "What are my health coverage options for the remainder of the year?" The answer is a bit complex, will require thoughtful consideration and most likely professional help, but there is good news. There are options available. One of those options hinges on whether an individual has a life-changing situation, called a "qualifying event." The other options include supplemental or short-term insurance to cover the period between now and Jan. 1, 2015.

Once a qualifying event occurs, consumers have 60 days to sign up for an ACA-compliant health insurance policy. Life events that may generally qualify consumers for a special enrollment period include: getting married, the birth or adoption of a child, divorce, permanently moving to a new area that offers different health plan options, losing other health coverage due to a job loss, a COBRA plan expiring, a health plan being decertified, an employer dropping coverage or recently becoming a citizen. Voluntarily quitting health coverage or being terminated for not paying your premiums are not considered qualifying events. If consumers do not have a special qualifying event, then they will be unable to purchase an ACA-compliant health policy until the next open enrollment period. They will also be required to pay the penalty of $95 or 1 percent of their family income for failing to purchase qualifying coverage in 2014.

Consumers who do not have a qualifying event have the option of signing up for a supplemental or short-term health plan to bridge the gap until January 1, 2015. However, most short-term plans do not meet the ACA requirements for minimum essential coverage. In addition, short-term plans may not include coverage of certain pre-existing conditions. 

"Supplemental and short-term policies can be attractive options, but it is important for consumers to be perfectly clear about how those options address their current medical conditions," said Mark Bellman, president of the Texas Association of Health Underwriters.

Supplemental insurance plans include: accident policies, cancer or specified disease coverage, critical care and recovery, dental coverage, vision care, and certain types of hospitalization. For example, a cancer policy may not cover a pre-existing diagnosis …Click Here to Download the Full Press Release.

SOURCE Texas Association of Health Underwriters