Most of the year, you need a “qualifying event” in order to enroll in major medical coverage. However, during Open Enrollment, anyone can enroll in health insurance (or change their plan) just because they want to!
Open Enrollment is just about to start this coming Tuesday, November 1st and will go through January 31st, 2017. However, the day that your new health insurance plan will start depends on when you complete your application.
- Nov 1st – Dec 15th: Plan starts Jan 1st
- Dec 16th – Jan 15th: Plan starts Feb 1st
- Jan 15th – Jan 31st: Plan starts Mar 1st
That means if you apply this November hoping to get coverage ASAP, the soonest you can hope for is January 1st. What happens if you get appendicitis on Nov 15th? What other options are available between November and January?
Short-Term Health Insurance
Short-term health insurance can help you cover a gap of less than 6 months. It’s perfect for that little gap between Nov 1st and Jan 1st. This kind of plan is “catastrophic,” meaning it will only help you with your medical expenses if something really big happens. It’s not useful for covering day-to-day things like prescriptions and check-ups. But if you get appendicitis, it’ll save you from a crazy hospital bill.