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Missed Open Enrollment: Can I Still Sign Up for Health Insurance?

If you missed the open enrollment period for health insurance, you may be asking yourself “Can I still sign up for health insurance in 2021?”

The idea of being without health insurance for an entire year during the Covid-19 pandemic is quite frightening. Yet, millions of Americans are without a health insurance plan. If you missed the open enrollment deadline, or you have lost your health insurance unexpectedly due to unemployment, there is hope. You can still sign up for health insurance in Florida under many circumstances.

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment for health insurance applies to employer sponsored plans and to the healthcare marketplace. It provides you with an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits like vision, health and dental insurance, a retirement plan, and even a health savings account. The 2021 Open Enrollment Period for the Healthcare marketplace was from Friday, November 1, 2020, to Sunday, December 15, 2020.

Some insurance agencies do permit a 4-week grace period after the open enrollment deadline to update their selection plan. Most employers who offer health insurance benefits hold open enrollment for 4-8 weeks before the employee’s plan renews. Because of Covid-19, several states have extended their healthcare marketplace deadlines for a few more weeks.

Each year many Americans miss out on this open enrollment deadline and fail to get comprehensive health insurance. It could be that the individual is on vacation and/or simply forgets to sign up. In many cases, if you miss the deadline you will need to wait until the next open enrollment period. Fortunately, in some cases, you can still sign up for health insurance for in Florida.

Did You Miss Enrollment in Florida?

If you have missed the open enrollment deadline for 2021, you have lost your health insurance coverage. This year, you won’t face a stiff tax penalty imposed by the Affordable Care Act, but being without health insurance, especially during a pandemic can still be a scary situation.

Fortunately, there are options available, so you can still sign up for health insurance in 2021.

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5 Ways to Sign Up for Health Insurance After Open Enrollment:

If you have missed your employer’s open enrollment deadline, there are some other insurance options, but their availability does depend on some qualifying factors. Here are the best 5 ways you can still sign up for health insurance AFTER open enrollment:

  1. Special Enrollment Period: You can see if you qualify for special enrollment thru the healthcare marketplace or thru your employer. A few exceptions to the rigid deadline of open enrollment include a life-changing qualifying event that may trigger a special enrollment period. Some examples of such events are: A divorce, sudden loss of a job, severe injury, marriage, or adopting children. 
  1. Spousal Employee Benefits: if your spouse works and receive benefits from her employer and the deadline for open enrollment has not ended, you may be eligible to obtain coverage through the spousal health plan.
  1. Adult under age 26: If you are a young adult under age 26, then it is possible to add you as a dependent on your parental health plan. If your parent’s health plan is offering dependent coverage, then you can be covered as long as you are under 26, regardless if you are married, employed, are a student, or have children. However, this plan is greatly dependent on the type of health plan your parents have and whether it offers coverage for children; more important this coverage is only possible if the open enrollment period is still open
  1. Medicaid: Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program will provide basic healthcare coverage to individuals with low-income families. Children, pregnant women, individuals with disabilities, and some seniors may qualify in Florida. Unlike the Marketplace, Medicaid and CHIP do not have an open enrollment period, which means that you can still sign up for health insurance thru a Medicaid plan if you qualify.

    Eligibility criteria for Medicaid vary from state to state. In Florida, you may not qualify for Medicaid even if your income is below the poverty level. You can visit the Florida Medicaid Website to determine if you are eligible.
  1. Short Term Health Insurance: Another option for individuals who have missed out on open enrollment is short-term health insurance. The short-term health plans are available from private insurance companies, but they only offer temporary coverage for a period of 12 months. In Florida, these plans can be renewed for up to three years total. Short-term health plans do not cover any pre-existing illnesses.

    If you are a healthy person and you still need to sign up for health insurance, the short-term insurance plans offer good options for health coverage.

    Short-term insurance plans do not meet the ‘minimum essential coverage’ criteria under Obamacare. This means that even if you enroll and maintain overage until the next open enrollment period, you would be subject to an individual mandate penalty on your federal tax return. The good news is that the federal mandate is waved at this time.

What Can Happen if You Don’t Sign Up?

If you don’t sign up for health insurance in 2021 the worst thing that could happen is that you get an illness which lands you in the hospital. Being hospitalized without medical insurance can be financially devastating. You also may not receive the level of care you need in order to make the best recovery. Your health is your most important asset, so signing up for health insurance is not an option – it really is a necessity, even if you are a healthy individual.

Even though there is no tax penalty for not having health insurance coverage this year, you should still make sure you have coverage.

Since 2019, at the Federal level, the Shared Responsibility payment no longer applies. Before 2019, those who did not purchase health insurance were subject to a fee when filing federal taxes. This fee was called the individual shared responsibility payment. This was often referred to as the individual mandate. While the individual mandate does not exist at the federal level, there are still some states which enforce the mandate at the State level. Florida does not enforce the individual mandate. When filing your taxes at the end of the year, consult with a tax professional to see if you need to pay any fees for not having healthcare coverage.

Be Proactive – Sign Up Now

Missing the health insurance open enrollment deadline is not a trivial matter. If you get sick or have a medical emergency, it and can be very costly to you. The key is to be diligent and proactive about the marketplace deadline, or about your employer’s deadlines. Mark the deadlines on the calendar and create reminders on your mobile phone.

If you missed the enrollment deadline for 2021 coverage, it is possible that you can still sign up of health insurance.

Contact an insurance agent today to review your options.

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