Finding the right insurance that works for your individual needs can be confusing and time-consuming. Insurance companies will all have their best sales pitch at the ready to entice you in. It can be useful to consult an insurance benefits broker to determine exactly what you need to navigate the process. No one health insurance plan fits all, and it’s vital that you end up with a relevant, effective, and suitable plan for you. When looking to buy insurance, there are several things to consider, starting with when you can sign up for the insurance.
Open Enrollment – Individual and Family
There is a set period for individuals and families each year to sign up for health insurance or change their plan, called open enrollment. This window lasts 45 days, from November 1st to December 15th, to apply for cover for the following year.
Open enrollment is also an opportunity to disenroll if you no longer want the coverage provided by your employer. If you miss the open enrollment period, you might not be able to sign up until the next period unless you experience a qualifying event.
If you run your own business, are self-employed with no employees, or work as a freelancer or consultant, then you will still need to apply for coverage within the individual marketplace during the open enrollment period.
Cover for Small Businesses
If you have small business with 1–50 employees (at least one employee must not be you or your spouse), you can find an insurance plan through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). You can usually enroll in SHOP coverage all year-round, but it will be up to you, as the employer, to decide when your coverage starts. SHOP availability can differ from state to state, and you will need to work with a SHOP-registered broker or work through your insurance company to ensure you get the right cover.
Qualifying Life Events
Do you need health insurance but have missed the open enrollment period? There are still specific events that allow you to buy health insurance outside of open enrollment. There is a window of 60 days to buy or change health insurance plans after a qualifying life event (known as a special enrollment period). Qualifying life events can include:
- Marriage or divorce
- Birth or adoption of a baby/child, or placement of a child for foster care
- Death of a household member (if the member is part of your plan and as a result, you are no longer eligible for your current health plan)
- Loss of health coverage in specific circumstances such as:
- Aging off your parent’s health plan
- The end of a student health plan
- You no longer qualify for Medicare Part A
- Loss of job-based coverage
- Loss of coverage through a family member
- Move or change of permanent residence (conditions apply such as moving to a new state or zip code)
- Changes to income (for current enrollees only and conditions apply)
This list is not exhaustive, so be sure to reach out to a benefit advisor to learn if the life event you are experiencing makes you eligible for a special enrollment period. It is worthy of note that a new job is not considered a qualifying event.
Why Choose DesignTM Health Benefits Brokers to Help You Buy Insurance?
Using a broker to find the right insurance plan to buy can help make the process smooth and comfortable. Healthcare benefits brokers are there to advise you independently on finding the right insurance plan for you and your goals. The price you pay is the same whether you use a broker or go directly to an insurance company, but a broker has relationships with multiple insurance carriers to assist you in finding the most optimal plan.
When you choose DesignTM Health, you get a customized plan that provides you the assistance, information, and resources you need to help you, your family, or your business. When looking for health insurance, it is vital to ensure that:
- Your health plan is customized to your needs
- You get peace of mind about your health plan and coverage
- Your personal information and privacy is always managed in a discreet and professional manner
- You get access to your healthcare plan immediately
- You get clear answers to all your health insurance questions
DesignTM Health benefits brokers meet all these criteria to give you peace of mind. We remove the complexity of health care plans so that you can be comfortable in making the right decision. Contact us online today or call (720) 330-2283 so that we can help you make the right health insurance choice.