While the Open Enrollment for Health Insurance has ended for 2014, there are still situations where an person can qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. If you have an Individual Health Insurance Policy that has a non-calendar year Renewal this year, you may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, or SEP. This could occur if you have a Grandfathered or non-Grandfathered transitional policy. If you receive a renewal notice from your Insurer, please give us a call at 877-740-8683, to discuss your options and find out if it is in your best interest to shop for a new policy. This SEP is in addition to the COBRA Special Enrollment Period , relating to Group Health Insurance, that will last until July 1st. There are also the regular Qualifying Life Events that will trigger an SEP. The Qualifying Life Events, or QLE’s, can include such things as gaining a dependent, through birth, marriage or adoption. If you lose Minimum Essential Coverage, through no fault of your own, this can also qualify for an SEP. This could result from a loss of a job, reduction in hours, divorce, or a permanent move. There are complex deadlines surrounding the triggering events. While most SEP’s have a 60 day day window, there are some with only 30 days. If you thing you might qualify for an SEP, please call 877-740-8683, or visit www.healthreformenrollmentcenter.com , to speak to a licensed Insurance Agent for a person evaluation of your situation. If you can’t qualify for an SEP, there are still options available for Short Term Insurance, and the 2015 Open Enrollment will start November 15th.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a one time Special Enrollment Period for anyone who has COBRA continuation from Group coverage. This will allow anyone currently on COBRA to enroll in a new ACA plan until July 1st. The normal rules of only being able to enroll in a Marketplace plan when first eligible due to loss of coverage, or when COBRA was exhausted(or during the Open Enrollment), are suspended for this time period. The decision was made because many people were unaware that would no longer be able to leave COBRA coverage during the year, and enroll in an Individual policy. Prior to 2014, people used to be able to purchase Individual coverage at any time during the year, so they could leave COBRA at any time. Under the Affordable Care Act, people are no longer able to purchase Individual coverage during the year, unless they have a Special Enrollment Period. Since COBRA coverage is often very expensive, it always worthwhile to compare Individual Health Insurance prices, especially if you might qualify for a subsidy. Please give us a call at 877-740-8683, to find out if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Over the years we have found there is a lot of confusion concerning Medicare Part B and COBRA. Many people think that as long as they have COBRA, they don’t need Medicare Part B. Unfortunately, the special rule for delaying Part B is based on current employment(either you or your spouse). COBRA is not considered current employment coverage. Most people are able to delay enrolling in Part B, as long as they are still working. Once the employment ends, however, the clock starts ticking. You will have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty. If you wait for COBRA to end, or go past the 8 months, you can be subject to a penalty of 10% of your Part B premium for each year that you were not enrolled. And that penalty stays with you as long as you have Medicare. Even more important, if you miss that deadline, you would have to wait until the next General Enrollment Period(from January 1st until March 31st each year), and your Part B coverage wouldn’t start until July 1st. This could have devastating consequences if a serious illness were to strike during that time. Another important thing to remember is that your Medigap Open Enrollment Period begins when you are both 65 and enrolled in Part B. This is a one time opportunity to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy, regardless of your health conditions. Some people go back to work, or get on a spouse’s current employment coverage, after enrolling in Part B. At this time, you may be able to disenroll from Part B, and enroll at a later time(such as when that employment ends), without a penalty. This can sometimes be a good strategy, but it is important to remember that your Medigap Open Enrollment doesn’t re-start. With more people working longer, delaying Social Security, or Part B, it more important now than ever to have good advice on your Medicare choices and deadlines. Please call at 877-740-8683, for a personal review of your situation.